Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group is to make 500 redundancies at its London headquarters, it had been confirmed in what has been a grim 48 hours for fashion retail jobs.
In a statement the fashion retail group said the 500 cuts, from a total head office workforce of 2,500, were down to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis “including the closure for over three months of all our stores and head offices, we have today informed staff of the need to restructure our head offices.”
Sir Philip Green’s group, whose brands include Topshop, Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Miss Selfridge and Evans, has been hit hard by the crisis and at the height of lockdown had furloughed 14,500 if its 16,000 employees.
The statement continued: “This restructuring is essential to ensure that we operate as efficiently as possible during these very challenging times. Sadly, it is likely to result in a reduction of approximately 500 of our 2,500 head office workforce. We deeply regret the impact this will have on those individuals affected and will do everything we can to support them.”
Yesterday luxury department store Harrods informed staff that it was looking to shrink its workforce by around 14%, cutting 700 jobs, while TM Lewin announced it would be closing all of its high street stores to focus on online only after a pre-pack administration that led to 600 job cuts.
Meanwhile this morning John Lewis chairman Dame Sharon White told staff that it would not be reopening all 50 of its department stores after lockdown. Some 32 are already open or scheduled to open with further openings planned over the summer but an as yet unspecified number will remain closed for good. Staff are due to be informed of the specifics of the plan by mid July.
Milan Pandya, a partner at tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg, called for a “clear and comprehensive plan” from the Chancellor to support cash-strapped non-essential retailers.
He added: “The fashion industry alone employs in excess of 900,000 people, many being in retail stores. If the recent spate of closures and redundancies continue the Government has a real long-term problem of unemployment as many jobs will be relatively low-skilled.”