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Zalando to axe several hundred jobs as company has "expanded too much"

Tom Bottomley
21 February 2023

German online retailer Zalando has said that it will “remove several hundred overhead roles” across many of its teams, citing that the pandemic tailwinds have faded since 2022 and “the macroeconomic environment has become more challenging”.
Zalando has acknowledged that going into 2023 the company is not where it needs to be as over the last few years some parts of the company have “expanded too much”, adding a degree of complexity to the organisation that has impacted its ability to act fast.

In a note to its employees, Zalando Co-Founders and Co-CEOs, Robert Gentz and David Schneider, said: “Supported by an overall consumer shift towards online shopping and strong pandemic tailwinds in 2020 and 2021, Zalando has generated exceptional growth over the last few years. We did very well as a business and benefited from investing in our teams and infrastructure.

“We can all be proud of our achievements and position in the market. We have over 50 million active customers in 25 markets and trusted relationships with our customers and partners. We all worked hard to make this happen.

“But the pandemic tailwinds have faded since 2022 and the macroeconomic environment has become more challenging. This shift has highlighted the increased complexity of our company and our speed to react.”

In terms of what roles will be culled, the note continued: “This program will involve many parts of Zalando, including at the senior leadership level. We don’t yet have full clarity on the impact on each area, but we do know that our frontline operations roles in logistics centres, customer care and outlet stores, as well as operational roles in our Zalando Studios, will not be affected.

“Today, we will start the consultation with our employee representatives and will come back to you as soon as we can with information on how we intend to approach this program, how we will support affected colleagues and the timeline we will try to work towards.”

In November 2022, Zalando reported a 2.9% increase in revenue to £2 billion (€2.3 billion) for the third quarter of 2022. The number of active customers increased by 8% compared with 2021, exceeding 50 million for the first time. In addition, Zalando’s 'Plus' loyalty program almost tripled its membership.

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