Fenwick modernisation will mean job losses, webstore for the first time
Upscale UK department store chain Fenwick is looking to modernise as its new leadership team moves into high gear, but significant job numbers are at risk as it does so.
The company, which currently operates nine stores, has a decentralised structure that sees each one operating autonomously. Fenwick is currently consulting with its staff about the proposed structural changes as it seeks to “modernise and reorganise”.
And that the modernisation finally mean a web store for the first time. The business is still one of the very few nationally known names that doesn't operate a transactional website.
A spokesperson said: “Fenwick has today announced a proposal to modernise and reorganise the business, moving to a functionally-led structure while retaining our local focus. These proposals are part of a broader strategy to modernise the business and to invest in both Fenwick’s multichannel offer – including IT upgrades and e-commerce – and its flagship Newcastle store.
So what is likely to happen? It seems that functions such as HR, finance and technology will be centralised at its Newcastle store (the company was founded in Newcastle in the 19th century). That means around 2,200 staff will have a nervous wait to hear about their futures at the chain as the company said that it's only at the end of the consultation process that it will be able to confirm job loss numbers.
CEO Robbie Feather it said that a “significant” proportion of the workforce will be affected by the changes.
Feather is still new in the job. The company announced his the appointment late last year and he became the first non-Fenwick family member to run the chain in its almost 140-year history.
He joined after the firm reported an annual profits fall with sales also dropping and the company secretary saying it “faces some of the most volatile and challenging market conditions” it has ever seen.
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