British luxury department store Harrods is looking to reduce its workforce of 4,800 employees by up to 14 percent to help it cut costs and mitigate the impact of Covid-19.
CEO Michael Ward said in an internal note that“after exploring every option available” the company decided it needs to make changes to its operational structure and cut “up to 14 percent” of its current workforce. “We need to do this to aid our recovery in the short-term, but also to protect the business in the longer term.”
Harrods was forced to shut down its Knightsbridge store in March for the first time in 170 years. The store has reopened in line with the government’s health and safety measures, and a new outlet store at Westfield London is set to open on 3 July.
“The necessary social distancing requirements to protect employees and customers is having a huge impact on our ability to trade, while the devastation in international travel has meant we have lost key customers coming to our store and frontline operations. While early signs since re-opening are optimistic, this recovery will take longer than any of us would like,” Ward said.
“As a leader of Harrods for over 15 years, I have overseen some hugely challenging times, but this is undoubtedly the biggest challenge we have faced. Nothing compares to the sadness and loss at having to let valued colleagues go.”
Throughout lockdown, Harrods continued to pay furloughed employees in full and provided support through its in-house Corporate Health Service, a spokesperson said, adding that the company will “proactively support” affected employees in looking for new work through its L&D and Resourcing teams.
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