Marks & Spencer is set to cut around 7,000 jobs over the next three months, it has been announced, as the chain tries to make changes to the business due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Here’s what you need to know.
Where will the job cuts be?
The job cuts will be in the company’s central support centre, regional management and its UK stores.
However, M&S has said that it expects a “significant proportion” of the job cuts (which will be about a tenth of its workforce) to be made through both voluntary redundancies or early retirement. The company has begun consultations with staff.
In a statement, M&S said that it was "too early to predict with precision where a new post-Covid sales mix will settle. We must now act to reflect this change.”
The announcement of these 7,000 jobs losses are in addition to the 950 job cuts, which were announced last month as part of changes to the company’s management structures.
Why is M&S cutting jobs?
The retailer said that the jobs cuts - which it called a “streamlining programme” - was an important step in reducing the company’s costs.
M&S chief executive, Steve Rowe, explains, "In May we outlined our plans to learn from the crisis, accelerate our transformation and deliver a stronger, more agile business in a world in which some customer habits were changed forever.
"Three months on and our 'Never the Same Again' programme is progressing; albeit the outlook is uncertain and we remain cautious.”
Although food sales at M&S have risen during the pandemic, sales of clothing and homeware took a hit.
Food sales increased by 2.5 per cent over the past 13 weeks, according to M&S's trading update today, but clothing sales fell by 38.5 per cent over the same period.
M&S has said that its in-store sales have gradually improved since shops were allowed to reopen, but sales are still impacted at some of its older stores located in town centres and some shopping centres.
Creation of new jobs
Although thousands of jobs are to be cut in the coming months, M&S also expects to create new jobs to aid with its plans for online delivery.
This includes online fulfilment and a new food warehouse, as the company prepares for online delivery firm, Ocado, to begin supplying its food products to customers at home on 1 September this year.
M&S says it has launched more than 500 new products in its stores as part of an expanded online range, which will then be supplied by Ocado.