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Harvey Nichols warns of redundancies

Lauretta Roberts
19 July 2020

Harvey Nichols has warned staff of potential redundancies across all of its locations saying the COVID-19 crisis would "change the shape" of the historic luxury retailer.

In an email to staff, CEO Manju Malhotra, said no decision had been made on exactly where and how many redundancies would be made, The Sunday Times has reported.

“We value each of our employees and their contribution to the business and are doing everything we can to avoid or minimise the number of redundancies,” Malhotra said.

Harvey Nichols employs 1,500 staff and operates eight department stores across the UK and Ireland and is also known for its restaurants in its stores and at the famous OXO Tower in London, all of which will have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Its flagship store in London's Knightsbridge dates back to 1831 when Benjamin Harvey opened a linen store on the corner of Knightsbridge and Sloane Street. The original site was demolished and the current store was built in stages between 1889 and 1894.

The company has been owned by Hong Kong tycoon Dickson Poon since 1991, who acquired it from the Burton Group. Poon went on to transform it into the go-to luxury fashion destination of the 1990s and it rose to prominence on the back of being the favourite store of Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone in fashion sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.

In the year to the end of March 2019, the company posted pre-tax profits of £2.7m on sales of £191m. In 2016 it carried out a significant revamp of its London flagship with new men's and women's floors and more recently revamped its accessories and perfume halls.

This latest development follows news that fellow Knightsbridge department store Harrods is planning to cut its workforce by 14%, culling 750 jobs, due to the hit of the coronavirus.

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