Luxury department store Selfridges announced this morning it will make around 450 people redundant as the coronavirus crisis claims more UK high street jobs.
The retailer said it will reduce its overall headcount by 14 per cent as sales this year are forecast to be “significantly less” than 2019.
The retailer will focus on strengthening its digital proposition, as well as “sustainability and experiences”.
Internet sales surged while non-essential stores were closed during the coronavirus lockdown. Online shopping in June was 53.6 per cent higher than in February – just before the pandemic hit the UK.
“It will, without doubt, be the toughest year we have experienced in our recent history,” the company said.
Selfridges group managing director Anne Pitcher sought to reassure the 30 per cent of employees that are still on furlough that their jobs are not more at risk than others.
“The task ahead is significant and, as we look to reinvent retail and prepare to build back, we will need to go further,” Pitcher said in a letter to staff.
“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.”
Selfridges said it will launch a consultation with team member and trade union representatives, and have asked employees to consider voluntary redundancy.
The move follows several other UK retailers that have announced redundancies in recent weeks as the pandemic accelerated changes on the high street.
John Lewis announced earlier this month that it would permanently close eight stores, putting 1,300 jobs at risk. Boots has also revealed plans to cut 4,000 jobs.