// M&S chair Archie Norman urges businesses to return to their offices to boost footfall in city centres
// Many offices are still empty as workers continue to work remotely, despite guidance being relaxed this month
Marks & Spencer chairman Archie Norman has reportedly urged businesses to bring staff back to offices to help give retailers a boost as city centres suffer from footfall declines.
Speaking to Retail Week, Norman said it was the responsibility of retailers to encourage staff back into offices, as it would give shops in centres a welcome boost in sales and footfall – especially when tourist numbers in city centres, particularly in central London, have taken a dramatic plunge.
Despite the government guidance on having to work from home being relaxed at the start of this month, many offices are still empty as workers continue to work remotely.
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M&S is reportedly encouraging its own employees who have returned to the office to spend more time on premises from next month, but will take a light touch approach in doing so.
While it has used technology to make remote working and staff interaction possible, Norman told Retail Week that in-person interaction was still “essential”.
Other leading retail leaders which have made the call for office workers to return include Superdry chair Peter Williams.
Norman’s comments come the same week M&S revealed it will make 7000 job cuts over the next three months as it continues to grapple with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.