White Stuff to make job cuts
Fashion and lifestyle retailer White Stuff is planning to cut a “significant” number of jobs across the business ahead of an expected decline in demand.
Like many companies in the retail sector, White Stuff, which employs more than 1,500 people in 120 shops, is being hit by a combination of Covid-19 uncertainty, consumer caution and a shift away from high street shopping.
New government rules could mean non-essential stores could open in the coming weeks, but with social distancing guidelines still in place, retailers will have to limit the number of people in their shops.
Experts also expect stores to open for shorter hours, have fewer customers and require fewer staff.
White Stuff has told sales and head office staff that it is opening a consultation on potential jobs cuts. It remains unclear exactly how many redundancies the company is set to make, but the number will be “significant”, reported Sky News.
The retail company has continued to trade online during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it believes that the outbreak will have a dramatic effect on store sales when lockdown restrictions are eased.
Chief executive Jo Jenkins said: "For the last 18 months we have been on a journey to transform our business into a more digitally driven brand.
“What we were planning on doing to reshape the business, we now need to do more quickly.
“We need to face into the reality, particularly given the on-going uncertainty of when and how shops might open given social distancing, that we need a leaner, more agile operating model that allows us to react to changing customer behaviour."
Industry insiders fear that White Stuff’s announcement could be the first of many as the government-funded Job Retention Scheme nears its end date of June 30. About 3.8 million people have been placed on furlough in the UK since the start of the scheme.
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