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Jobs on the line with Shop Direct reshuffle

Published: 31 January 2019 - Fiona Garcia

The digital retailer and financial services provider has announced the next phase of changes to its retail team, which could see as many as 100 jobs axed, as it strives to “simplify the business”.

Shop Direct, which operates the Littlewoods and Very brands, plans to align its retail team around the group’s four key product categories – fashion, home, electrical and developing categories – with some job roles set to be merged and other new positions created.

The company has said that more than 200 staff will be impacted by the restructure and it is understood that up to 100 people could be axed from the firm’s Speke head office.

The e-tailer will begin consultation with trade union Usdaw as it works through the proposals within its four category teams, as well as in retail planning and operations, and marketing. The consultation will continue for a minimum of 45 days.

Shop Direct maintains that these proposed changes will enable the business to “enhance its customer proposition, attract more target customers, drive continued category growth and digital innovation, and provide clearer career paths for its people”.

Today’s announcement follows news at the start of the month that the pureplay retailer had reshaped its executive board. It also builds on changes made in September 2018, when Shop Direct introduced the role of category director across its product categories, consolidated all marketing activity under the new position of chief marketing officer and created a retail planning and operations team to bring together trade planning and execution. In July 2018, the etailer merged its product and retail teams for the first time under the leadership of one executive board director, group retail director Sam Perkins.

Ms Perkins said of today’s announcement: “We are performing strongly in a hugely-competitive and challenging retail market, as evidenced over Christmas when we increased group revenue by 3.7%.

“But as is true of all businesses, we must constantly improve the experience we offer customers to remain competitive. Continuing to innovate, realigning the way we work, enhancing our capability and simplifying our business will remain key to achieving that.

“This type of change is never easy but is a reality of doing business in today’s dynamic retail world. For our impacted colleagues, our commitment is that we’ll work through this process openly and transparently and with empathy and respect.”

As part of the reshuffle to the group’s executive board, announced at the start of the year Tommy Jordan has since joined the business on January 14 as financial services CEO, while Sarah Willett was promoted to the role of group people director – both reporting directly to group CEO, Henry Birch.

Jacqui Humphries, who has held the role of group people director for the past 10 years, has stepped down from her executive duties and will become a non-executive director. Former financial services CEO, Neil Chandler, remains with the business and will focus on business development and innovation. In addition, former group finance director, Mark McMenemy, will also join the Shop Direct board as a non-executive director.


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