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450 jobs axed in Paddington

PUBLISHED: 10:09 09 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:47 07 September 2010

M & S HQ in North Wharf Rd Paddington Basin

M & S HQ in North Wharf Rd Paddington Basin

© Nigel Sutton 17 Redington Rd,London,NW37QX. Phone 020 7794 3008. email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

HUNDREDS of jobs will be lost in Paddington after Marks & Spencer announced it is to cut 1,230 staff and close dozens of stores. In a statement published on Wednesday morning, M&S confirmed it would slash 450 jobs from its North Wharf Road head office – r

HUNDREDS of jobs will be lost in Paddington after Marks & Spencer announced it is to cut 1,230 staff and close dozens of stores.

In a statement published on Wednesday morning, M&S confirmed it would slash 450 jobs from its North Wharf Road head office - reducing numbers by 15 per cent.

A further 780 job losses will be lost across the country with the closure of 27 stores, including 25 Simply Food stores and two small main chain stores.

Chairman Stuart Rose said: "We are aware that the proposed changes will be difficult for those members of staff impacted. But given that we expect challenging economic conditions to continue for at least the next 12 months, we believe we are taking the right action to maintain the strength of our business.

"We remain committed to maintaining our strong financial position. Capital expenditure for 2008/09 is expected to be no more than £700m and no more than £400m in 2009/10. We continue to target to be broadly cash neutral in 2008/09."

M&S will also be making changes to its pension scheme by capping employees' annual increases in pensionable pay to one per cent and changing the early retirement benefits for members who joined the scheme before 1996.

John Gorle, from the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw), was shocked the news had come so early in the New Year and that staff were discovering through the media that their jobs were under threat.

"We hope other retailers will not panic and announce major redundancies as their staff are their greatest asset and we will always encourage companies to

take a long-term view," he said.

"Retailers will not want to lose experienced and trained staff and also redundancy can be a costly option and also lead to poor morale among the remaining workforce.

"It is important that retailers maintain staffing levels to ensure a high level of customer service and satisfaction otherwise they run the risk of customers going elsewhere."

M&S is Britain's biggest fashion retailer and employs about 70,000 staff.

Wednesday's announcement revealed the firm has experienced its poorest sales performance for a decade - worse than rivals such as Debenhams and John Lewis.

In August last year, whistleblower Tony Goode, 43, was sacked from M&S after leaking details of redundancy cuts which he feared would lead to job losses.


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