UK retailer M&S axes 7,000 jobs on virus fallout
Marks and Spencer, the British retail chain selling clothes and food, is to cut around 7,000 jobs as the coronavirus pandemic increasingly pushes customers to shop online, it said. The job cuts, to be carried out over the next three months, include losses from its central support centre, in regional management and in its UK stores, M&S said in a statement.
Marks employs more than 80,000 staff, of whom the vast majority work in the UK. Chief executive Steve Rowe said the company would become a "leaner, faster business set up to serve changing customer needs".
Alongside the job cuts, M&S "expects to create a number" of positions to help the group meet a surge in online demand for its products.
While total group sales slumped by around one fifth in the 19 weeks to August 8 -- which included most of the period Britain was in lockdown-online revenue surged nearly 40 percent, Marks said.
"It is clear that there has been a material shift in trade and whilst it is too early to predict with precision where a new postCOVID sales mix will settle, we must act now to reflect this change," Marks said.
The company joins the likes of UK department store chains Debenhams and John Lewis, as well as pharmacy group Boots, in cutting thousands of jobs owing to fallout from COVID-19.
Official data last week showed that Britain's economy shrank by one fifth in the second quarter, more than any European neighbour, as the lockdown plunged the country into its deepest recession on record.
Even though the UK economy is beginning to rebound as the government eases strict confinement measures- gross domestic product grew by 8.7 percent in June-analysts expect a surge in unemployment by the end of the year.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak plans to end in October the government's furlough scheme that is paying up to 80 percent of wages for around 10 million workers during the pandemic.
South Korea reported 246 more cases of the COVID-19 as of midnight compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 15,761.
The daily caseload soared in triple figures for five straight days with 103 on Friday, 166 on Saturday, 279 on Sunday and 197 on Monday each.
The domestic infections surged in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province traceable to church services.
Of the new cases, 131 were Seoul residents and 52 were people residing in Gyeonggi province.
Eleven were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 2,662.
One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 306. The total fatality rate stood at 1.94 percent.
A total of 17 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 13,934. The total recovery rate was 88.41 percent.
Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 1.69 million people, among whom 1,656,062 tested negative for the virus and 25,219 are being checked.
DP World handled 16.7 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) across its global portfolio of container terminals in the second quarter of 2020.