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Thousands of job cuts

M&Co considering options in high street bloodbath


Scottish chain has 262 stores

A high street bloodbath left thousands of retail workers without a job as store owners succumbed to the pressures of the lockdown.

Topshop owner Arcadia and Harrods said they planned a total of 1,180 job cuts.

Earlier, Upper Crust owner SSP Group announced 5,000 jobs will be lost because of the absence of customers at airports and rail stations.

Shirtmaker TM Lewin yesterday announced 600 jobs will go as it switches to online retail only.

Scottish value fashion retailer M&Co, which previously traded as Mackays, is looking at options which include a sale of the Renfrewshire-based business.

The family-owned company, which employs 2,700 staff, is understood to have suffered a £50m revenue shortfall as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Sources say its is working with Deloitte and is understood to be considering options including a partial sale or full sale via a pre-pack administration.

A number of turnaround funds and private equity firms have been approached, according to Sky News.

M&Co currently has 262 stores, the majority of which have now reopened following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Founded in 1961, M&Co is owned by the McGeoch family and is run by Andy McGeoch, its chief executive.

In the year to February 2019 it reported that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £8.7m and an operating profit of £3.6m. Its net debt fell in the same period from £19m to £8.7m.

TopShop owner cuts jobs

TopShop Edinburgh

Top Shop owner cutting head office staff

Top Shop, Burton’s and Dorothy Perkins owner Arcadia is to axe up to a fifth of its head office jobs.

The group told staff this morning about a major restructuring that is likely result in the loss of about 500 of its 2,500 employees.

In an email, chief executive Ian Grabiner said: “Although our digital platforms provided us with some much-needed sales whilst our stores were closed, it certainly didn’t make up for the loss of sales from our stores and franchise partners.

“We and our partners are unlikely to see the same level of footfall on the high street anytime soon. We can’t ignore the impact this will have on our business and we need to adapt.

“We have already been reducing our store estate over the last few years but we also need to generate further cost savings across our company in order to ensure we have a solid foundation for the future. In order for us to achieve this, we need to restructure our head office to support a more focused and future proofed organisation.”

Harrod’s to cut staff

Upmarket department store Harrods will axe 672 jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, which kept its flagship branch in central London closed for three months during the UK lockdown.

The business, owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, told staff it needed to cut up to 14% of its 4,800 workforce.

John Lewis to close some stores

John Lewis

Edinburgh store will stay open

John Lewis will keep some stores of its department stores closed permanently, it emerged today.

Speculation has mounted that it would not reopen all 50 of its stores and its chairman Dame Sharon White has confirmed the news in a letter to staff.

About 32 stores are open or are set to reopen – including Edinburgh and Glasgow – with further reopenings coming over the summer but Dame Sharon has said that an unspecified number will remain closed.

In a letter, which was seen by the Evening Standard, Dame Sharon said: “The difficult reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now. As difficult as it is, we now know that it is highly unlikely that we will reopen all our John Lewis stores.

“Regrettably, it is likely that there will implications for some Partners’ jobs. We are in active discussions with landlords about ending some leases and renegotiating others to make the terms more flexible.”

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