Footwear giant Clarks is to cut around 900 office jobs as the 195-year-old retailer tries to revitalize a business that has been struggling for some time. But the job losses won't happen immediately. Some 160 staff members have been made redundant as of Thursday with those redundancies happening around the world, although 108 of them are at the company’s HQ in Somerset, UK.
In the next 18 months, as the business works through its recovery strategy, it will see another roughly 700 roles being shed. But at the same time as it axes 900 corporate jobs, around 200 new roles will be created.
The company said it's working with those affected to support them and help them find alternative employment, possibly within the company or outside of it.
Clarks announced a turnaround strategy called Made to Last late last year, and as part of that has also said that it could close some stores. On Thursday, its CEO Giorgio Presca said the company continues to review its store estate while its UK shops remain closed.
And he added that while there are exciting opportunities ahead, difficult decisions also have to be made. Presca also thanked those staff who’ve been made redundant.
The firm’s new brand strategy is designed to leverage its heritage as well as its relevance to today’s consumers. The key points of the strategy are quality, innovation, design, sustainability, and digital, with the brand engaging more with consumers via online and social channels.
Presca also said the firm needs to recognize changes in the way people live. “To ignite our emotional connection with consumers, we have organized 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,” he explained. “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.”