British retailer Marks & Spencer has announced that it plans to cut a further 7,000 jobs, dealing the latest blow to the country's beleaguered retail sector from the COVID-19 crisis.
M&S said last month it would shed 950 jobs as part of a store management revamp. Its latest round of redundancies will impact its central support centre, regional management and UK stores over the next three months.
The cuts add to thousands already announced by other major British retailers, including Boots, John Lewis, Dixons Carphone and WH Smith.
M&S said it expected a significant proportion of the latest cuts would be through voluntary departures and early retirement.
“In May we outlined our plans to learn from the crisis, accelerate our transformation and deliver a stronger, more agile business in a world in which some customer habits were changed forever," commented chief executive Steve Rowe.
"Three months on and our Never the Same Again programme is progressing; albeit the outlook is uncertain and we remain cautious. As part of our Never The Same Again programme to embed the positive changes in ways of working through the crisis, we are today announcing proposals to further streamline store operations and management structures."
M&S said group sales were down 19.2% year-on-year in the 19 weeks to Aug. 20, which included part of Britain's lockdown period, with clothing and home sales down 49.1% and food sales down 1.1%.
In the latter eight weeks of the period clothing and home sales were down 29.9%, while food sales were up 2.5%.