In the recent news we read that Selfridges is to cut 450 jobs across its department stores, in the latest blow to UK high street retailers hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The cuts represent about 14% of its workforce and Anne Pitcher, group managing director, said it was the “toughest decision we have ever had to take”. Selfridges operates four department stores in the UK including its London flagship on Oxford Street, as well as a website.
The forced closure of non-essential retail stores during lockdown accelerated the growth of online shopping – a trend retailers expect to persist. People are also proving reluctant to resume their old lives with the number of those visiting high streets and shopping centres down sharply on a year ago. The absence of tourists, particularly in London’s main shopping district, is also hitting retailers hard.
Talking about some Fundamental changes'
In her message to staff, Ms Pitcher said that Covid-19 pandemic has forced change and caused us to rethink so many aspects of our lives and, will continue to do so as we adapt and respond to a new and evolving reality."
She warned that Selfridges needed to make "fundamental changes", adding that the company had been examining every aspect of its business "to ensure we are fit for purpose and the future".
She said that There will be a period of collective consultation to discuss the proposals with elected team member representatives and trade union representatives,
She mentioned that Nobody imagined when we started the year that things would unfold like this and led us to having to make such momentous decisions.
The store chain was founded by American Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1908 with the flagship Oxford Street store in London opening in 1909.
Other Selfridges stores opened in Manchester's Trafford Centre in 1998, Exchange Square in 2002, and in Birmingham's Bullring in 2003.
Until the upheaval created by the coronavirus, upmarket stores such as Selfridges and Harrods were prospering as customers sought out designer fashion as well as experiences beyond shopping, such as pop-up theatres and restaurants, in their stores.
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