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Shop Direct puts 1,500 jobs in consultation

Home shopping group Shop Direct is considering closing three contact centres with the possible loss of 1,500 jobs.

The move comes just a year after the company – which owns brands including Littlewoods, Very and Woolworths – slashed 1,150 positions.

Shop Direct is proposing to close its Sunderland, Newtown and Burnley contact centres. It is, however, proposing to bring up to 350 new roles into its remaining centres by introducing flexible shift patterns.

Shop Direct said most of its customers are choosing to shop online and declining call volumes at its contact centres meant it needed to change its operational structure.

Less than four years ago, 33 million calls were taken through Shop Direct’s contact centres, while today it is only 19 million.

A 90-day consultation period has begun with the individuals affected.

Mark Newton-Jones, Shop Direct chief executive, said: “We recognise that this is a very difficult time for those teams affected by the proposed contact centre closures.

“We are working closely with the trade unions to help staff through the consultation process and support them in finding future employment.

“Over the past five years, the proportion of our online sales has grown from 18% to account for over 60% of our business today resulting in excess capacity and space in our contact centres. We are a strong and growing business and we need to adapt to reflect the way our customers choose to shop with us.”

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