Marks & Spencer to cut more than 500 jobs at London head office

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Marks & Spencer is to slash more than 500 jobs at its London head office in Paddington as part of chief executive Steve Rowe’s efforts to turnaround the struggling retailer.

Rowe, who revealed the worst first quarter clothing and homeware sales for almost a decade in July, said the cuts were “absolutely necessary”.

“M&S has to become a simpler and more effective organisation if we are to deliver our plans to recover and grow our business.

“It is never easy to propose changes that impact on our people, but I believe that the proposals outlined today are absolutely necessary and will help us build a different type of M&S – one that can take bolder, pacier decisions, be more profitable and ultimately better serve our customers.”

Around 525 roles will be axed from the company’s headquarters, while 400 permanent roles across IT and logistics will move out of central London.


M&S will reach the target, which is set to shave around 1% a year off its UK cost base, through a combination of fewer contractors, natural attrition and redundancies.

There will be a one-off cost of £15 million as a result, though that includes already-implemented changes to the senior management team.

A staff consultation has been launched and M&S “will give careful consideration to any alternative proposals”.

The announcement follows the conclusion of a separate consultation with shop floor staff over changes to their pay and pensions. On Friday the chain said it had agreed a new deal with employees, which will see base pay rise but some premiums scrapped.

Despite concessions for those set to be worse off under the plans, including additional compensation payments, critics, including staff and MP Siobhain McDonagh, who has campaigned on the issue, said the new deal fell short of what long-standing workers deserved.

A petition against the changes, introduced in the wake of the National Living Wage, has attracted more than 99,000 signatures.

Rowe, who began his M&S career as a Saturday worker in the Croydon store and stepped up to the top job in April, earlier warned that he would have to take tough decisions to restore the retailer to its former glory.

Clothing and homeware sales slumped 8.9% in the three months to July 2, which Rowe blamed on over-inflated prices and “damaging” promotions.

He is now looking at the company’s international operations and store portfolio and is expected to announce a scaling back of the overseas business at M&S’s half-year update in November.

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September 5, 2016 |
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