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Wilko to cut 1,000 jobs following consultation period

Wilko Store 2

The high street discounter Wilko is planning to make 1,000 jobs redundant, following a period of consultation with over 3,700 staff.

According to Retail Week, the company has accepted 1,030 voluntary redundancy applications, although it has also made 19 redundancies where they weren't able to employ staff elsewhere.

Read - Wilko puts 3,900 staff under consultation

The redundancies that predominantly affect Wilko stores include the removal of assistant manager and store supervisor roles, amalgamating the latter into team supervisor roles. At the same time, Wilko has promoted or redeployed more than 2,600 store staff and will now recruit 224 new supervisors.

The discounter first revealed plans to reduce staff numbers in August, shortly after reporting a devastating 80% fall in profits, due partly to the decline in sterling.

Read - Wilko profit almost wiped out by decline in sterling

“We thought long and hard about undertaking this review and knew it would be difficult,” Wilko retail director Anthony Houghton said. "We also knew that it was necessary if we were to maintain our presence and continue to thrive within an ever-changing retail landscape".

“In consultation with the GMB, our recognised trade union, we listened to what team members wanted and made changes based on that.”

Chief operating officer Sean Toal said that although Wilko had seen both positive customer numbers and sales growth during 2017, “this was not translating into positive results. This is not sustainable into the future and we had to make some tough decisions to reorganise,” he said.

Insight DIY Analysis & Comment - Steve Collinge

However you look at it, Wilko are not in a great place. They may be seeing an increase in customers and sales, but this is due to them having to cut prices to match competitors including Poundland and B&M Bargains, who continue to aggressively take market share. Cutting costs, whether that's media spend or staff numbers is the only option for Wilko, which has not made more than a £25m profit on a flat turnover of £1.5bn since 2011.

Wilko remains one of the largest privately owned companies in the UK, is financially very strong and has always been proud of its heritage and how it cares for its staff. However, to remain competitive in the cut throat world of high street discounting, Wilko are going to have to continue to drive costs down, while proving to their loyal customers that Wilko is still the home of family value and great savings.

Source: Insight DIY Team

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Image - courtesy of Shutterstock

28 October 2017

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