UK re­tailer M&S axes 7,000 jobs on virus fall­out

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE - LON­DON -REUTERS

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.

ABU DAHBI -AFP

DP World han­dled 16.7 mil­lion TEU (twenty-foot equiv­a­lent units) across its global port­fo­lio of con­tainer ter­mi­nals in the se­cond quar­ter of 2020.

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