MARKS & Spencer is preparing to axe almost 7,000 shop floor workers, we can reveal.
Roughly 6,800 customer assistant store roles are in the firing line as Covid-19 hits trading, sources say.
M&S, which employs 80,000, is expected to start consulting with staff on cuts on Tuesday. The retailer is already axing 950 management roles as coronavirus accelerates an ongoing shake-up.
The transformation plan, called Never the Same Again, is being stepped up after the disruption of lockdown when the M&S food arm stayed open but its clothing arm was hit hard.
An M&S spokesman said: “We don’t comment on speculation and, if and when we have an announcement to make, our colleagues will be first to know.”
M&S, under boss Steve Rowe, said previously that “significant” cost cutting was needed as its clothing and home arm was “severely constrained”. It is also on a digital push.
Britain’s retailers are facing a double whammy of lower footfall amid the pandemic and the ongoing shift to online shopping. Despite non-essential retailers reopening, the number of visitors to high streets and other retail destinations is still a third lower than before the pandemic.
Debenhams has laid off 2,500 and has put itself up for sale.
It has hired advisers to look at a potential liquidation if it cannot find a buyer. Boots, WH Smith and John Lewis are among others shedding staff.
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