British retailer M&S plans to cut 7,000 jobs over the next three months — around a tenth of its workforce — in an attempt to offset a sales slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The job losses will hit stores across the UK, as well as its customer support center and regional management. "It is clear that there has been a material shift in trade and whilst it is too early to predict with precision where a new post-COVID sales mix will settle, we must act now to reflect this change," M&S said in a statement. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
British high-street retailer M&S said Tuesday that it will cut 7,000 jobs over the next three months to stem losses from its COVID-19 sales slump. The job cuts will hit its central support center, regional management, and its UK stores, M&S said. It expects to let go a "significant proportion" of jobs through voluntary departures and early retirement. The cuts come on top of the 950 layoffs announced last month, which the retailer said would eliminate duplicate roles and provide "clearer leadership accountabilities." At the height of the pandemic, M&S warned that customers may never shop the same way again, and streamlined its management structure. In its latest statement, M&S said that store closures, including at airports, initially caused food sales to slip, but once stores reopened, sales recovered slightly, and food sales have risen 2.5% in the past 13 weeks. Clothing sales saw a "substantial shift" from formal wear to leisure wear, M&S said. In the last 13 weeks, total revenue in this segment was down 38.5%. "It is clear that there has been a material shift in trade and whilst it is too early to predict with precision where a new post-COVID sales mix will settle, we must act now to reflect this change," the retailer said in the statement. M&S employs about 75,000 people, mostly based in the UK. The latest job cuts represent a loss of 9% of its workforce. Separately, the UK's high-end department store John Lewis, beauty retailer Boots, department store Harrods, sandwich chain Pret A Manger, and fast-food outlet Burger King also announced job cuts running into the thousands.SEE ALSO: Walmart, Best Buy, Patagonia and other retailers and restaurants are giving their employees time off to vote on Election Day Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
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Covid measures are designed to help businesses forced to close their doors over the winterCoronavirus –...Covid measures are designed to help businesses forced to close their doors over the winterCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageHospitality businesses in the north of England have said they will struggle to survive on the new support package unveiled by the chancellor if they are forced into weeks of local lockdowns.Carol Ross, the landlady of the Roscoe Head pub in Liverpool, said the new jobs support package- which includes the government paying 67% of employee salaries if businesses are forced to shut down and a further £3,000 a month in cash grants towards other costs – was not enough. Continue reading...
UK retail spending returns to pre-pandemic levels — but a 15.9% drop in clothes sales show the recovery is 'deceptive,' one expert says
Summary List Placement British shoppers have drastically cut back on clothes purchases since February, making clothing...Summary List Placement British shoppers have drastically cut back on clothes purchases since February, making clothing the worst-hit retail sector during the pandemic, according to figures released on Friday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Clothes sales in August were 15.9% below their levels in February, before the UK went into lockdown. Overall retail sales have returned to pre-pandemic levels — in total, British shoppers spent 0.7% more in August than in July, and 2.5% more than February, the ONS data showed. This was fueled by a home-improvement boom: Sales-by-volume in household goods stores were 9.9% higher than in February, the ONS reported. Marc Ostwald, chief economist at ADM Investor Services, said that this suggests a "robust recovery in consumer spending" on the surface — but the figures are "deceptive," he said. Sales in bricks-and-mortar stores have plummeted, and "considerable further job losses" will follow, he added. Separate data from the Retail Sales Inquiry and the Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey showed that fewer customers were shopping for clothes in person in August compared to February, and 85.7% of clothing stores said they had fewer customers in mid-August compared to the weeks before COVID-19 hit the UK. Online sales and footfall are both falling Online sales are dropping across most sectors, though they still remain much higher than before the pandemic. For every £100 shoppers spent in August, £28 of this was spent online, ONS data shows. This is 2.5% less than in July, but still more than 50% higher than this time last year. After "other stores," the sector that saw the highest drop in online sales other than clothing was food, the ONS reported. Online food sales were nearly 5% down in August compared to July as customers returned to supermarkets — but British shoppers are still spending nearly twice as much on grocery deliveries than last year. Total food sales across both online and physical stores fell by around 2% from July to August. Britain's "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme – which saw diners eat more than 100 million meals out in August as part of a government-subsidized scheme to boost the hospitality industry – caused supermarket sales to plummet by £155 million ($201 million) in August, research by data company Kantar shows. Footfall data from Springboard suggests that the number of shoppers visiting physical stores also fell. In the week starting 7 September, around 28% fewer shoppers visited bricks and mortar stores than the same time a year ago, compared to just a 25% decrease during the two weeks before that. Ostwald, from ADM Investor Services, said that the migration from bricks and mortar retail to online, and reduced spending on non-retail recreation and leisure activities, "will likely result in considerable further job losses, especially with escalating reintroduction of lockdown measures." UK retail jobs have nearly halved over the past year, and job cuts have reached their fastest rate since 2009, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said in August. British retailer Marks & Spencer is among those that have laid off staff during the pandemic. Over the past three months, it has announced 7,000 job cuts — 10% of its total workforce.SEE ALSO: UK retail jobs have nearly halved over the past year, as job cuts reach their fastest rate since 2009 Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
Bed Bath & Beyond plans to shutter about 200 stores over the next two years. On...Bed Bath & Beyond plans to shutter about 200 stores over the next two years. On July 8, the company published an investor relations presentation that revealed Bed Bath & Beyond intends to "lean into store closures" and "leverage significant lease expirations coming due." The Bed Bath & Beyond has floundered in recent years, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and previous leadership spats and financial struggles. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Bed Bath & Beyond is looking to shut down about 200 "redundant" stores over the next two years. The company announced the closures in its first-quarter investor-relations presentation. The slide deck said the closures would "mostly" affect Bed Bath & Beyond. The company also owns retail chains like Buy Buy Baby and Cost Plus Inc. Going forward, Bed Bath & Beyond will "lean into store closures" and "leverage significant lease expirations coming due" in an effort to turn things around, according to the presentation. The company has also cut "expenses associated with the maintenance of stores." The majority of Bed Bath & Beyond store associates and certain corporate employees are furloughed because of the pandemic. The pandemic hit Bed Bath & Beyond hard, prompting the retailer to temporarily close all of its stores on March 23. The company suffered a net loss of $302.29 million in the first quarter, down from $371.09 million a year ago. Sales plunged 49%, sinking from $1.31 billion from $2.57 billion in 2019. In an earnings call with analysts, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Gustavo Arnal said the drop in sales occurred "primarily due to the temporary store closures." Most of Bed Bath & Beyond's stores have since reopened. But Bed Bath & Beyond's struggles date back to beyond the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, as it has faced declining sales. Former Target Chief Marketing Officer Mark Tritton took on the role of CEO in November, several months after a group of activist investors pushed for the ouster of CEO Steven Temares. The retailer announced its plans to close 44 stores across eight states earlier this year. SEE ALSO: The rise and fall of Bed Bath & Beyond, one of America's most iconic big box retailers Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Victoria's Secret is closing dozens of stores this year — here's why the brand has failed to keep up