Marks & Spencer’s (M&S) HR director has categorically denied there will be any job cuts despite the retailer experiencing falling sales.
The company took one of the biggest hits of the high street spending crunch after revealing in January that year-on-year sales over the Christmas period were down 2.2%. Shares plummeted, wiping £1.5bn off the value of the retailer – its worst one-day fall in 19 years.
At the start of February, its womenswear business was reported to have lost market share, shrinking 14% year-on-year.
But HR director Keith Cameron said he was confident M&S was growing as a business, not cutting back.
He told Personnel Today: “Although the share price reduced dramatically after the Christmas sales, if you look at it now it’s in line with the retail sector it has stabilised,” he said. “What we are committed to are the plans we expressed last year to really grow our e-business and international business.”
He stressed the loss in sales could be explained by the rapid expansion of M&S stores, which have grown from 360 outlets to 600 in just three years.
“If you open a new store, it will inevitably hit existing stores,” he said. “There will be no job losses. The number of staff has increased year-on-year.”
Cameron also insisted his HR team was ready to deal with the increasing challenge of adding to the company’s bottom line.
“When I first joined [three years ago], HR had a specialist agenda it wasn’t what the business needed, it wasn’t commercial enough,” he said. “Now HR provides very important support and activity to the mainstream of buying and selling.”
Earlier this week Cameron gave a talk to HR directors at The Ceridian Executive Forum, on how the retailer had re-positioned itself over the past few years, for a competitve marketplace.