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Selfridges to axe 450 jobs as sales hammered by pandemic

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 pandemic.

The upmarket retailer said it will reduce its total headcount by 14% to cope with the impact of the virus and subsequent lockdown.

In a message to staff, group managing director Anne Pitcher warned the recovery will be “slow”, stressing 2020 will be “the toughest year we have experienced in our recent history”.

The boss said high streets were changing even before Covid-19 and the business has now been forced to make “fundamental changes”.

She said: “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.

“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.”

The retailer also promised staff who are on furlough that the fact they were not working now would have no effect on whether their role would be impacted.

Selfridges said it will start a period of collective consultation to discuss the proposals, engaging with elected team member representatives and trade union representatives.

The retailer closed the doors to its stores in March, after the Government-mandated lockdown, before reopening in June, with its restaurants and hair salons welcoming customers again at the start of this month.

Ms Pitcher said: “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% net reduction in our overall headcount, approximately 450 roles.”

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