Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) Group has made more than 100 redundancies across the business, Drapers can reveal.
Over 100 employees across the head office and business functions, including those who had received job offers at the company, have been let go. The company has also introduced a temporary ban on further recruitment.
Elsewhere, EWM Group has reduced hours for remaining staff and warned that it could reduce salaries by up to 50% in the coming weeks. The company employs 25,000 people.
Meanwhile, the retailer will close all of its stores from Sunday 22 March until further notice.
A spokesman for EWM Group said: “Like many other high street retailers, we are currently experiencing a significant reduction in footfall on the high street. This collapse in footfall has especially affected our core over-60s customers, who have been explicitly told to self-isolate and stay at home by the government.
“To prepare effectively today we opened a consultation with our employees about moving to flexible working hours from next week as a way to ensure that we can limit the impact on the business, the team and, most importantly of all, safeguard as many jobs as possible.
“This suggestion was discussed with all our employees today, and was unanimously agreed. We have not taken any final decisions about whether we will move to reduced working hours yet as this is a very changeable and fast-moving policy environment, and we are watching both the high street and government closely. We are following all the government announcements closely to find the best way to support our team.
“Sadly, as part of these preparations, we have also made a small number of redundancies across the group, where people have been very recently hired or were due to start very soon. We have also put a ban on further recruitment in the business, as we work towards safeguarding as many jobs as possible.”
Earlier this year collapsed retailer Bonmarché was sold to EWM’s Peacocks. The company acquired most of Bonmarché’s assets, including stock and around 200 stores. However, it is understood that a deal has still not been completed on the remaining 70 stores.