Covid-19: Selfridges to cut around 450 roles as part of post-pandemic restructure

Selfridges has announced that approximately 450 employees, 14% of its workforce, will lose their jobs as it looks to restructure its business and become more sustainable following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The luxury department store said the move is due to changing customer behaviours during the crisis, and as a result, wants to strengthen areas “such as digital, sustainability and experiences.”

In a letter to Selfridges team members, Anne Pitcher, managing director of the group, said: “Like many others, we are feeling the effects and acknowledge that recovery will be slow with sales this year forecast to be significantly less than they were in 2019. It will, without doubt, be the toughest year we have experienced in our recent history.

“As you would expect at such a critical time, we have been carefully examining every aspect of our business: our structures, our costs, our ways of working – from top to bottom, leaving no stone unturned to ensure we are fit for purpose and the future.”

Selfridges will now begin a period of collective consultation, engaging with elected team member representatives and trade union representatives, and will set out the timeline for this process tomorrow.

Pitcher added: “We will lead with care and consideration, we will share our knowledge with responsibility and respect and we will do everything possible to mitigate the number of redundancies we propose to make.”

The move reflects the huge shift to eCommerce during the crisis, with retailers having to rapidly grow this channel in order to survive. As customers increasingly move online for transactional shopping, it is expected stores will need to provide experiences to properly engage customers in the post-Covid-19 landscape.

Selfridges is the latest in a line of retailers to announce job cuts over recent weeks. Earlier this month, John Lewis said it will be closing eight stores, putting 1,300 roles at risk, while Boots UK announced 4,000 job losses across its head office, stores and optician teams.