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Harrods to cut up to 14 percent of workforce

By Huw Hughes

Jun. 30, 2020

British luxury department store chain 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 to colleagues, seen by FashionUnited, 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.

Redundancies will come primarily from the parts of the business most adversely impacted by the loss of trade resulting from the lockdown, he said. “We need to do this to aid our recovery in the short-term, but also to protect the business in the longer term.”

Harrods Outlet to open on 3 July

Harrods was forced to shut its iconic department store in Knightsbridge, London in March for the first time in 170 years. The store has since reopened in line with the government’s health and safety measures, and a new outlet store at Westfield London designed to spread out footfall and ensure customers can more easily adhere to social distancing measures 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.

Photo credit: FashionUnited