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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Coronavirus: More than 90% of UK airliners grounded as travel demand plummets

More than 90% of passenger airliners in the UK have been grounded as demand for air travel has plummeted, Sky News can reveal.

EasyJet has become the latest airline to ground its entire fleet of aircraft, while Ryanair has warned it can’t rule out a complete shutdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.

International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways, has grounded 75% of its aircraft. More than 327 airliners belonging to the group have been parked in storage without a single flight for the past seven days, according to aviation analytics company Cirium.

Wizz Air, the Budapest headquartered airline that flies to 10 destinations in the UK, is operating 7% of its original scheduled capacity – utilising just 19 out of its entire fleet of 121 Airbus aircraft.

Low cost airline and package holiday provider Jet2.com has not operated a single flight over the past seven days on 93 aircraft. The company currently flies 110 airliners.

Data from Cirium also showed more than 40% of the global passenger jet fleet was now in storage – inactive for at least seven days – leaving just over 15,000 available.

It also showed a sharp increase in the number of aircraft placed in storage in the month of March as airlines around the world desperately try to trim costs.

Flight numbers have fallen to a trickle globally as international air travel responds to a collapse in demand and restrictions on movement.

Earlier this month, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Foreign Office is advised against all non-essential worldwide travel for a period of 30 days.

The UK government has ruled out a support package but promised to work with individual airlines should they seek help.

Scottish regional airline Loganair has indicated it will do just that.

Flight information specialist OAG said the aviation industry was now less than half the size reported in mid-January.

It noted that 30% of global flight capacity was lost over the past week alone, with BA losing 72% to date.

Only KLM has lost more in Europe (73%).

Globally, the US, China, UK and India had the most number of airliners grounded.

Middle East-based Emirates said it been brought to a “sudden and painful halt” by the coronavirus pandemic as it too grounded majority of its passenger flights.

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