Fenwick modernisation drive could spell job losses

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Fenwick has announced plans to “modernise and reorganise the business” leading many to fear for their jobs.

The department store chain, which currently trades from eight locations across the country, is looking to centralise its operations and launch an ecommerce platform for the first time in its history.

Currently each Fenwick store is run autonomously, and centralising its operations could impact many roles within the individual stores.

Furthermore the department store is reportedly moving its IT, finance and human resource departments to its Newcastle flagship.

It is understood to have started a consultation process with its 2000 staff, and despite speculation, no decision on redundancies will be made until the process is completed.

“Fenwick has today announced a proposal to modernise and reorganise the business, moving to a functionally-led structure while retaining our local focus,” a spokesperson said.

“These proposals are part of a broader strategy to modernise the business and to invest in both Fenwick’s multichannel offer – including IT upgrades and e-commerce – and its flagship Newcastle store.

“We are consulting all colleagues about proposed structural changes and it is only at the end of this process that we can confirm how many posts will be made redundant.”

Last October the retailer reported pre-tax profit drop of 31.2 per cent to £30.4 million for the year ending January 27 2017. It attributed much of this drop to investment towards launching an online offering.

It has also recently announced a string of new appointments, including its first chief executive outside of the Fenwick family in its history, former Argos commercial director Robbie Feather.

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