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Clarks to cut 900 jobs as part of transformation strategy

By Huw Hughes

22 May 2020

Clarks is set to cut around 900 jobs as part of its ‘Made To Last’ transformation strategy.

The 195-year-old British footwear retailer said it has already announced 160 redundancies this week, including 108 at its headquarters in Street, Somerset.

While 900 jobs are expected to go overall, it will be partially balanced by the creation of around 200 jobs. The company expects approximately 700 employees to leave the company over the coming 18 months.

It comes as part of the retailer’s ‘Made to Last’ strategy which aims to ensure the company has a “sustainable and successful future” as it continues to adapt to the increasingly online retail landscape and the impact of Covid-19.

One hundred and seventy job cuts were made when the strategy was announced at the end of last year.

“There are exciting opportunities ahead for our business, and we are having to make some difficult decisions to get there. We thank all affected staff for their contribution to our business and they leave their roles with our heartfelt respect and support,” said Clarks CEO Giorgio Presca in a statement.

Clarks presses forward with turnaround strategy

The company also announced that it has begun to reopen its stores in China and in some markets in Europe and “is closely following guidance from the governments and health authorities” in the UK, US and elsewhere.

In terms of addressing its short-term liquidity needs, the Clarks leadership team has been “reviewing funding options with selected advisors to confidently position the business to deliver its strategy and enable future growth.”

Presca also confirmed that Clarks is now focusing on “expanding the use of digital and social channels to connect with consumers” as part of its long-term strategy. The consumer’s increasing tendency to shop online has been one of Clark’s main challenges over the years as a traditional brick-and-mortar retail.

“To ignite our emotional connection with consumers, we have organised Clarks’ brand portfolio across three distinct business units that each represent a unique segment of the shoe market - Clarks Originals, Clarks, Collection and Cloudsteppers by Clarks,” said Presca. “This is helping us move fast to get ahead of the changes in the ways that our consumers live their lives, so that we are there for them every step of the way.”

He added: “We are a business that walks its own path, and we are evolving to put our brand and consumers at the heart of everything we do. This will ensure that our organisation is made to last, empowering our people to contribute to a great future for the company.”

Photo credit: Clarks Shoes, Facebook