WH Smith to slash 1,500 jobs due to reduced customer numbers

5 August 2020, 09:48

The retailer expects to make a loss of between £70 million and £75 million for the year to August.
The retailer expects to make a loss of between £70 million and £75 million for the year to August. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

WH Smith has said it could axe up to 1,500 jobs after the pandemic pushed down the number of customers going into its stores.

The High Street retailer said its restructuring plans will see 1,500 jobs go across the business, with proposals expected to cost the company between £15 million and £19 million.

The retailer said group revenues were down 57 per cent in July compared with the same month last year after its travel arm was particularly badly hit by the pandemic.

It said it now expects to make a loss of between £70 million and £75 million for the year to August.

WHSmith group chief executive Carl Cowling said: "In our travel business, while we are beginning to see early signs of recovery in some of our markets, the speed of recovery continues to be slow.

"At the same time, while there has been some progress in our high street business, it does continue to be adversely affected by low levels of footfall.

"As a result, we now need to take further action to reduce costs across our businesses.

"I regret that this will have an impact on a significant number of colleagues whose roles will be affected by these necessary actions, and we will do everything we can to support them at this challenging time."

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