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Exclusive: Clarks axes 60 roles at UK HQ

Clarks is making up to 60 roles redundant at its UK head office in Somerset, Drapers can exclusively reveal.

It is believed between 50 and 60 roles are affected across several departments. The UK head office at Street in Somerset employs more than 1,000 people. 

A spokesman for Clarks said: “As one of the world’s leading footwear brands, and, like all global businesses, Clarks is always evolving and improving the way we work. Our industry continues to face a challenging commercial and economic environment, with increasing cost pressures and intensified customer expectations.

“For our brand to meet these challenges, today and in the future, Clarks will always review and reorganise its business to ensure it remains agile and innovation led. As part this continuous review, we are making some changes to improve the way we work across Clarks.

“Unfortunately, a small number of employees will be affected by these changes, but we are doing everything we can to minimise any impact. We have a strong duty of care to our employees and will be supporting them during this period.”

This is the second round of redundancies at the retailer in just over a year. In February 2016, Drapers exclusively revealed that Clarks made 170 redundancies across its UK and US offices, as it combined its product and marketing functions in Somerset and in Boston, Massachusetts.

This latest review was overseen by new chief executive Mike Shearwood, who joined in September last year. Shearwood was CEO of Karen Millen from 2009 until 2015 and replaced Melissa Potter at Clarks, who left in September 2015.

Clarks is also reviewing its 550-strong UK and Ireland store portfolio. In February, it appointed property consultancy Harper Dennis Hobbs to advise on its estate and ensure stores are the right size and in the right location.

Drapers understands the review will not represent a drastic shake-up of its stores and that Clarks is committed to the high street, but it is looking for the best deal in the face of rising rents and rates.

In its most recent results Clarks’ group operating profit fell 59% to £45.8m for the year to 31 January 2016, after a combination of “over-ambitious business plans” and an “excessive focus on short-term performance” led to a “significant” amount of excess inventory.

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