Selfridges to axe 450 UK jobs as sales are hammered by pandemic

Company says 2020 will be ‘toughest year’ in its recent history

Sales at Selfridges are set to be “significantly less” than last year due to coronavirus. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Sales at Selfridges are set to be “significantly less” than last year due to coronavirus. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

 

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 would reduce its total headcount by 14 per cent to cope with the impact of coronavirus and subsequent lockdown.

Brown Thomas and Arnotts form part of the Selfridges Group which also controls Holt Renfrew in Canada and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands. The group is owned by Canadian billionaires Galen and Hilary Weston.

A spokeswoman for Selfridges group said the announcement was “specific to Selfridges UK”.

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

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.”

She added: “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 per cent net reduction in our overall headcount, approximately 450 roles.”

– PA