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Exclusive: Clarks axes jobs at UK head office

Clarks has made a number of staff at its UK headquarters in Somerset redundant with immediate effect, Drapers understands.

Clarks storefront

The redundancies – thought to affect at least 50 roles in the UK – are understood to be part of a global restructuring.

Sources indicate that 200 head office and warehouse staff are impacted globally, across several departments, including HR, design and finance.

One source said at least 13 people were made redundant in the UK head office last week and more job cuts were announced today (February 9).

A spokeswoman for Clarks said: “The Clarks business has worked hard over its 190-year history to establish and maintain a brand with a global reputation for responsibility, integrity and care.

”Like all large global businesses, Clarks continuously examines ways in which to improve its customer experience and operational efficiency, to ensure it remains a world class provider of quality footwear.” 

However, she declined to say more, explaining: “As a matter of policy Clarks does not comment on rumour or speculation in relation to the business.”

The redundancies followed the surprise exit of Clarks’ chief executive Melissa Potter and chief financial officer Robin Beacham in September last year.

Potter left after 27 years with the family-owned retailer, while Beacham had worked there for nine. Thomas O’Neill is leading the business as executive chairman until a replacement for Potter is appointed.

At the time, footwear observers suggested that Potter’s sudden departure was most likely prompted by sluggish sales in the UK and US.

Annual sales at the 190-year-old retailer, which has more than 1,000 stores worldwide, fell 3.2% to £1.5bn in the last year, while pre-tax profits rose 1.4% to £121.5m. It did not provide a breakdown for the UK or US. 

Update: On January 10 Clarks confirmed it was making 170 people redundant. It is understood the majority are based at its Somerset head office.

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