Marks & Spencer announce huge job cull with 7,000 to go in three months

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Retail giant Marks & Spencer has said it plans to cut around 7,000 jobs over the next three months across stores, regional management and its support centre.

M&S said that its plan to cut the jobs comes after seeing a "material shift" in trade.

It plans to reduce the number of roles at the retail chain's central support centre, in its regional management and UK stores over the next three months.

During lockdown, the company said it has learnt to work more flexibly, using the same staff to man both the food aisles and the clothing section of the stores.

In a statement released this morning, M&S said its clothing and homeware sales are down significantly.

"As previously outlined Clothing & Home trading in the stores remains well below last year, with online and home delivery strong," the company said.

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"It is clear that there has been a material shift in trade and whilst it is too early to predict with precision where a new post Covid sales mix will settle, we must act now to reflect this change.

"We have also learnt that we can work more flexibly and productively with more colleagues multi-tasking and transitioning between Food and Clothing & Home."

New Microsoft technology will also allow it to reduce layers of management, M&S added.

"We expect a significant proportion will be through voluntary departures and early retirement. In line with our longstanding value of treating our people well, we will now begin an extensive programme of communication with colleagues," M&S said.

It also expects to create "a number" of new jobs as M&S invests in its online capacity.

The company currently employs about 80,000 people.

Consultations with staff about the redundancies are expected to begin today as M&S moves forward with a business transformation plan called Never the Same Again, the Sun reports.

It was already in the process of axing 950 management positions due to coronavirus.

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