UK retailer Marks & Spencer cuts 7,000 jobs due to pandemic

LONDON (AP) — U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer says it plans to eliminate about 7,000 jobs as it streamlines management and store operations after sales plunged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

London-based Marks & Spencer said Tuesday the job cuts would take place over the next three months in its central offices, regional management and U.K. stores. The reductions represent about 9% of the company’s workforce.

Marks & Spencer said group revenue fell 13.2% in the quarter ended Aug. 8, driven by a 38% drop in in-store sales of clothing and housewares.

Like other retailers, the company has seen a surge in online sales as customers avoid in-store shopping the pandemic. Marks & Spencer said 68% of its orders were delivered to customers’ homes during the quarter, compared with 29% in the previous year.

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The company said “there remains substantial uncertainty about market conditions and the duration of social-distancing measures, and we are retaining a cautious approach to planning for the balance of the year.″

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