// Clarks to slash 900 office jobs as part of a major shake-up to revitalise the business
// This will consist of 160 immediate redundancies followed by another 700 in the next 18 months
// Clarks says the job cuts will be partially balanced by the creation of around 200 new roles
Clarks is set to slash around 900 office jobs as part of a major shake-up to revitalise the business for a post-coronavirus climate and as it enters its third century of operation.
The 195-year-old footwear retailer said it made 160 redundancies globally today, including 108 job losses at its headquarters in Street, Somerset.
Clarks said that over the next 18 months, the turnaround strategy will see it make another 700 or so employees redundant.
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However, Clarks highlighted that this total reduction of 900 corporate roles in its global workforce will be partially balanced by the creation of around 200 new jobs.
The retailer also confirmed it was actively supporting staff to find alternative employment within or outside of Clarks.
The announcement is part of Clarks’ Made To Last” turnaround strategy, which was first launched at the end of last year and is aimed at ensuring the heritage British retailer has a sustainable future.
“There are exciting opportunities ahead for our business, and we are having to make some difficult decisions to get there,” chief executive Giorgio Presca said.
“We thank all affected staff for their contribution to our business and they leave their roles with our heartfelt respect and support.”
Presca said Clarks’ turnaround also includes a new brand strategy focused on exploiting the brand’s potential, leveraging its heritage and consumer relevance in today’s market.
This will include a focus on sustainability, product innovation, design and quality, and digital enhancement to help customers properly interact with the Clarks brand, and select and buy shoes in convenient ways.
When Clarks’ launched its Made to Last strategy at the end of last year, it led to the redundancy of 170 employees globally.
Meanwhile news emerged in April that Clarks was potentially looking at permanently closing a “small number” of stores.
Presca confirmed today that the retailer was continuing to review its stores in line with changing consumer needs.
Clarks has already temporary closed most its stores around the world to protect its staff and customers from the coronavirus pandemic.
It has started to reopen in China and in some markets in Europe and is closely following guidance from the governments and health authorities while taking appropriate measures to reopen when it is right and safe to do so.
To address the short-term liquidity needs caused by the Covid-19 crisis, Clarks said its leadership team has been reviewing funding options with selected advisors to ensure the business can deliver its strategy and enable future growth.
Presca confirmed that Clarks was now concentrating on expanding the use of digital and social channels to connect with consumers as part of its Made to Last strategy.#
“To ignite our emotional connection with consumers, we have organised Clarks’ brand portfolio across three distinct business units that each represent a unique segment of the shoe market – Clarks Originals, Clarks, Collection and Cloudsteppers by Clarks,” Presca said.
“This is helping us move fast to get ahead of the changes in the ways that our consumers live their lives, so that we are there for them every step of the way.”
He added: “We are a business that walks its own path, and we are evolving to put our brand and consumers at the heart of everything we do.
“This will ensure that our organisation is made to last, empowering our people to contribute to a great future for the company.”
Retail Gazette has contacted Clarks for further details on how much the Made to Last strategy will cost the business.