LONDON — Marks & Spencer plc said Friday it might lay off a total of 1,000 members of its head office staff over the next two years as part of an ongoing plan to slim down the business and improve efficiency.
The company said in a statement that, following a review of its head office and financial services operations, it anticipates that 500 out of 5,000 jobs in administration and human resources “may be lost” in the 2004/2005 fiscal year, which began on Saturday.
In the 2005/2006 fiscal year, it expects to slash an additional 500 jobs as a result of improved technology and outsourcing.
The company said the loss of the initial 500 jobs could generate some $47 million, or 25 million pounds, in annual savings, before incurring a one-off cost. The statement stressed that none of M&S’s 58,000 customer assistants and store managers would be affected by the job cuts.
“This is an integral part of our plan to kick-start the next stage of transformation in the business,” said Roger Holmes, chief executive officer of M&S. “It is also an important step in creating a more efficient organization and serving our customers better.”
Part of the M&S overhaul has been the rollout of stand-alone food stores, the creation of a competitive home furnishings business, M&S Lifestore, and new store trials in 10 of its stores on main shopping streets.
As reported, M&S is depending heavily on the services of Vittorio Radice, who last month was named executive director for general merchandise responsible for clothing, home and store development.
Friday’s announcement comes a month before M&S begins to move into Waterside House, its new headquarters in north London. The move will be completed in September.