Primark to axe around 400 UK jobs in management overhaul
Primark is set to axe around 400 jobs across its UK stores as part of an overhaul of its retail management team.
The retailer, which is owned by Associated British Foods, has launched a consultation with staff as it looks to simplify its management structure in the UK.
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The group said the move aims to “provide clearer accountability, greater flexibility and more management support on the shop floor”.
A new management level role will be created as part of the change, but the fast fashion chain will also be stripping out other roles.
It is expected the changes will result in around 400 fewer retail managers.
Primark, which employs 29,000 staff in total across 191 stores in the UK, expects the consultation to take place over the next couple of months.
Kari Rodgers, Primark retail director for the UK, said: “The changes we’re proposing will deliver a simplified and more consistent management structure across all of our stores, provide more opportunities for career progression and offer greater flexibility.
“We are now focused on supporting our colleagues who are affected by these proposed changes and will be going through the consultation process.”
Sales figures beginning to rise
Details of the job cut plans come as Primark revealed it had seen a hit to its recent trading as the outbreak of the Omicron Covid-19 variant kept shoppers away from stores.
The group said Primark’s UK like-for-like sales were 10% lower in the 16 weeks to 8 January when compared with pre-pandemic levels two years ago, with so-called shopper footfall hit by the rapid rise in Omicron cases.
However, AB Foods said shopper numbers and trading had since improved as Omicron fears ease, adding that like-for-like sales were higher when compared with a year earlier, when stores were shut due to lockdown measures.
Total group-wide Primark sales were 36% ahead year-on-year, it added.
AB Foods said supply chain problems had begun to ease since last autumn, although it is still seeing some delays at ports and with shipments.
The group is offsetting higher costs by slashing store operating costs and overheads.
Primark said it expects sales to be “significantly” higher year-on-year between now and April, now all its stores are open.
The group said: “It is difficult to predict future trading conditions with certainty, but we have seen an encouraging improvement in footfall in the UK and Ireland as the disruption from Omicron reduces.”