New brand strategy for Clarks as it announces 900 job losses

Clarks has announced a new long-term strategy in which 900 of its employees will lose their jobs over the next 18 months. In the latest stage of its 'made to last strategy', it said today that 160 staff have been made redundant in its operations across the world – including 108 from its UK HQ – as the shoe brand aims to become more sustainable in the future.

The retailer confirmed that as part of its restructure, there would be a reduction of 900 corporate roles, although this will be partially offset by the creation of 200 new positions.

The job losses as a result of the plan began at the end of last year, when 170 employees left the business globally.

Clarks said it wants to make its business leaner and better able to adapt to changing customer needs. This “will focus on sustainability, product innovation, design and quality, and digital enhancement to help customers properly interact with the Clarks brand, and select and buy shoes in the most convenient ways for their lifestyle”.

Giorgio Presca, CEO of Clarks, commented: “There are exciting opportunities ahead for our business, and we are having to make some difficult decisions to get there. We thank all affected staff for their contribution to our business and they leave their roles with our heartfelt respect and support.”

He added: “To ignite our emotional connection with consumers, we have organised Clarks’ brand portfolio across three distinct business units that each represent a unique segment of the shoe market – Clarks Originals, Clarks, Collection and Cloudsteppers by Clarks.

“This is helping us move fast to get ahead of the changes in the ways that our consumers live their lives, so that we are there for them every step of the way.”

Last month, Clarks countered news reports that the ongoing cornavirus pandemic had caused the retailer to close a small number of stores, while analysts suggested the retailer has been slow to adapt to a changing market. 

IT has been a core component of the retailer's turnaround strategy. As well a focus on improving the front end, it is also modernising its back end to become more agile, working with the likes of Mulesoft to make its supply chain more efficient. The business is replacing its systems' point-to-point interfaces with a layer of middleware, which means it will be able to make changes more quickly.