Clarks has confirmed it is making 170 redundancies across the business as it restructures to focus on global distribution channels.
Clarks autumn 15
The 190-year-old footwear company said it is combining its product and marketing functions at its UK head office in Somerset and US facility in Boston, Massachusetts.
A source close to Clarks said the majority of the redundancies, which were exclusively revealed by Drapers yesterday, are at the Somerset HQ.
“Whilst Clarks remains a global leader in the footwear market, we have, in recent years, experienced a highly demanding commercial and economic environment, with increasing competition and intensified customer expectations,” said a spokeswoman. “To meet these challenges Clarks has undertaken an in-depth review and a subsequent reorganisation of the business.
“This reorganisation unfortunately means that we are in conversations with approximately 170 people who will leave our business across our global operations over the coming month.
“We treat all our employees, past and present, with the respect they deserve and the company has a full package of support in place for those affected, including assistance to help them find new employment.”
The company said is asking a “significant number” of people to take on new roles and responsibilities to be able to respond better to customer demand and rapidly-changing markets.
“This will ultimately ensure the future success and development of the Clarks brand,” the spokeswoman said.
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.