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Jobs at risk at Shop Direct call centres

Almost 700 jobs are at risk at two Shop Direct call centres in Aintree and Bolton.

Business outsourcing provider Webhelp, which operates the centres on behalf of Shop Direct, said it plans to close the centre in Bolton early next year, Manchester Evening News reported yesterday. The Aintree site is expected to shut in spring 2017.

Webhelp has 1,162 people working on the Shop Direct account but this figure will drop to 470 if the cuts go ahead in the next 18 months.

The company said it anticipated lower call volumes over the next 10 years, and this, combined with the digital skills and infrastructure required to meet changing customer demands, had led to the cuts.

The newspaper reported that plans also include Shop Direct having a centre of excellence in Cardiff, while the remaining operations would be “offshored” to South Africa.

Shop Direct chief executive Alex Baldock said: “This is purely a proposal at this stage and will be subject to thorough and meaningful consultation with trade unions, employee representatives and employees at each affected site.”

On Tuesday, Shop Direct announced it will merge Isme into its sister etailer Very from the end of the month.

@Tara_Hounslea

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