Coronavirus: Clarks to lose 900 jobs under shoe retailer’s resizing

Clarks, the 195-year-old UK shoe retailer, says it is to lose 900 jobs as the company adapts to the challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis.

It said an overhaul of the business, first revealed by Sky News in April that is understood to include the permanent closure of some unprofitable stores, was to cut the number of office roles across the business.

It announced the move after its 345 sites were shuttered under the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown – with store assistants furloughed.

Clarks announced 160 redundancies globally, with 108 of those positions going at its headquarters in Somerset.

It said roughly 700 more would be lost over the next 18 months but the losses would be partially offset by 200 new roles under its plans, which include a continuing review over its funding options.

The firm, owned by descendants of its founders Cyrus and James Clark, had already been struggling before the COVID-19 pandemic as a slump in consumer confidence took its toll on the high street at the same time as stores faced surging costs.

Chief executive Giorgio Presca said: “To ignite our emotional connection with consumers, we have organised Clarks’ brand portfolio across three distinct business units that each represent a unique segment of the shoe market, Clarks Originals, Clarks Collection and Cloudsteppers by Clarks.

“This is helping us move fast to get ahead of the changes in the ways that our consumers live their lives, so that we are there for them every step of the way.

“We are a business that walks its own path, and we are evolving to put our brand and consumers at the heart of everything we do.

“This will ensure that our organisation is made to last, empowering our people to contribute to a great future for the company.”

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