Suffolk jobs at risk as Marks & Spencer announce 950 job cuts

The Ipswich branch of Marks and Spencer in Westgate Street - the company has announced it is to cut

The Ipswich branch of Marks and Spencer in Westgate Street - the company has announced it is to cut 950 jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Jobs in Suffolk could be at risk after it was announced that Marks & Spencer are looking to axe 950 roles.

The cuts come as part of plans to reduce store management and head office roles to help move the company to “a leaner, faster retail management structure”.

M&S said it has now started collective consultation with employee representatives and has set out plans to first offer voluntary redundancy to affected staff.

The retailer said the cuts are set to impact roles in the company’s head office, property and store management areas.

Marks & Spencer have a large stores in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds town centres, plus a Simply Food branch at Martlesham.

Last week, we revealed that Ipswich Borough Council had purchased the vacant Toys ‘R’ Us building at Copdock Interchange in an effort to keep the Ipswich town centre M&S open.

The retailer is understood to be looking for a west Ipswich site for a food store – like that at Martlesham Heath – and had previously made enquiries about the Copdock location.

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This led to fears that the flagship retailers could be looking to close their high street store.

MORE: Council firm bought Toys R Us to save town centre M&S in Ipswich

In May, chief executive Steve Rowe said the company would be accelerating parts of its transformation plan with a programme dubbed Never The Same Again.

M&S told investors that “central support costs and headcount will be examined at all levels” as part of the plan.

Sacha Berendji, director of retail, operations and property at M&S, said today: “Our proposals reflect an important next step in our Never The Same Again programme to accelerate our transformation and become a stronger, leaner and more resilient business.

“Through the crisis we have seen how we can work faster and more flexibly by empowering store teams and it’s essential that we embed that way of working.

“Our priority now is to support all those affected through the consultation process and beyond.”

Shares in the company slumped by 2% to 96.8p after it announced the proposals.

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