// Selfridges has told staff it plans to cut 450 jobs – around 14% of its total headcount
// It says annual sales are set to be “significantly less” than last year due to Covid-19
// Selfridges MD Anne Pitcher promised staff on furlough that their working now would have no effect on whether their role would be impacted
Selfridges has told staff it plans to cut 450 jobs as it warned annual sales are expected to be “significantly less” than last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The luxury department store said it would reduce its total workfroce by 14 per cent to cope with the impact of the virus and subsequent lockdown.
In a message to staff, group managing director Anne Pitcher warned the recovery would be “slow”, stressing 2020 will be “the toughest year we have experienced in our recent history”.
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She also said the retail sector was changing even before Covid-19 gripped the UK, and the retailer was now forced to make “fundamental changes”.
“As you would expect at such a critical time, we have been carefully examining every aspect of our business – our structures, our costs, our ways of working – from top to bottom, leaving no stone unturned to ensure we are fit for purpose and the future,” Pitcher said.
“This has involved reviewing all non-essential expenses as well as pausing projects and initiatives where prudent to do so.
“The task ahead is significant and, as we look to reinvent retail and prepare to build back, we will need to go further.”
She added: “As a family business, the hardest decisions are the ones that affect our people, which is why it pains me to share news today of the toughest decision we have ever had to take that we will, very regrettably, need to make a 14 per cent net reduction in our overall headcount, approximately 450 roles.”
Pitcher also promised staff who are still on furlough that their circumstances would have no effect on whether their role would be impacted.
She promised more information to staff tomorrow.
“Nobody imagined when we started the year that things would unfold like this and lead us to having to make such momentous decisions,” she said.
“It is a huge responsibility and I appreciate how incredibly unsettling receiving this news today must feel, prompting all sorts of thoughts and emotions.”
Selfridges joins a growing list of retailers that have announced business restructures, store closures or job cuts as a result of the pandemic, including fellow luxury retailers Burberry and Harrods – which announced 500 and 700 job cuts respectively.
Other retailers that gone down this path already include the John Lewis Partnership, Boots, Ted Baker, DFS, WHSmith, TM Lewin, Mulberry, Travis Perkins, The Very Group, Quiz, Debenhams, Monsoon Accessorize, Intu, Dyson, Oak Furnitureland, Asos and Topshop parent company Arcadia Group.
Selfridges operates four stores: two in Manchester, one in Birmingham and the Oxford Street flagship in London.
with PA Wires