Marks & Spencer and Beefeaters to axe jobs due to Covid-19

Marks & Spencer has said 950 jobs are at risk as part of plans to reduce store management and head office roles.

The high street retailer said the proposals will help move the company to “a leaner, faster retail management structure” as it accelerates its transformation plan after being disrupted by the coronavirus lockdown.

M&S said it has now started collective consultation with employee representatives and has set out plans to first offer voluntary redundancy to affected staff.

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It said the cuts are set to impact roles in the company’s head office, property and store management areas.

It comes after a bloodbath on the high street in the face of coronavirus, with the likes of John Lewis, Boots and Debenhams announcing thousands of job cuts.

In May, chief executive Steve Rowe said the company would be accelerating parts of its transformation plan with a programme dubbed Never The Same Again.

M&S told investors that “central support costs and headcount will be examined at all levels” as part of the plan.

The retailer’s food stores continued to trade throughout the lockdown period, but trading in other parts of its business, such as clothing, was significantly reduced.

Sacha Berendji, director of retail, operations and property at M&S, said: “Our proposals reflect an important next step in our Never The Same Again programme to accelerate our transformation and become a stronger, leaner and more resilient business.

“Through the crisis we have seen how we can work faster and more flexibly by empowering store teams and it’s essential that we embed that way of working.”

Meanwhile the historic Beefeater guards are facing layoffs for what is believed to be the first time in their 500-year history as part of “heartbreaking” measures to cut costs at the Tower of London.

The pandemic has seen the temporary closure of six sites run by Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), which all rely heavily on visitor income.

An HRP spokesman confirmed a voluntary redundancy scheme was introduced last month and that staff had been warned that a compulsory redundancy scheme was likely to follow.

HRP believes it is the first time that the guards have faced redundancy in their long history - having been formed by Henry VII in 1485.

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