Marks & Spencer has announced 525 job cuts and plans to relocate activities from its London head office, and IT staff are among those in the firing line.
The cost-cutting reorganisation follows a 14.7 per cent rise in the company's pay bill at the same time that it is grappling with an 8.9 per cent decline in clothing and home sales.
M&S said in a statement that the plans are intended to "reshape and redefine the organisation by reducing the number of head office roles by a net reduction of about 525 roles and reduce the number of roles permanently based in central London by about 400, across IT and logistics, as part of the retailer's strategy to work more simply and more efficiently".
The statement singled out contractors, in particular, for cuts, but full-time staff will also be affected. "The net reduction would be achieved through a combination of fewer contractors, natural attrition and redundancies for M&S employees," said the statement.
CEO Steve Rowe suggested that the company needs to "become a simpler and more effective organisation" and that the cuts are necessary to "help us build a different type of M&S that can take bolder, pacier decisions, be more profitable and ultimately better serve our customers".
The move follows an internal review which concluded that M&S had become "too complex and inefficient" with duplication of activities and a lack of clear accountability for decision-making.
The company has already opened consultations with staff over the job cuts, which come one week after offering shop staff a 14.7 per cent pay rise, which would take in-store wages to £8.50 per hour or £9.65 in London.
M&S has invested a great deal in IT and logistics systems in recent years in a bid to compete online.
The retailer told V3 sister site Computing in 2012 of plans to ditch Amazon as its online platform host and to spend £100m on building and running its own e-commerce platform.
The firm has also been active in recruiting talent for its 'elite' in-house software development team.
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