JD Sports says shoppers 'nervous about risks' | Barrhead Travel announces redundancies | Daily Record owner to cut 12% of staff
JD Sports said customers have been nervous about coming back into some stores as the company reopened a majority of its shops.
It said footfall had been particularly hard hit at its Northern European shopping centres at weekends as customers worry about the risks of densely occupied enclosed spaces.
It comes as the business presented a record set of results for the year ending February 1, before the coronavirus crisis hit.
Profit before tax was up 3% to £348.5 million on revenues of £6.1 billion, an increase of a third.
Chief executive Peter Cowgill said: “Whilst Covid-19 has constrained our short-term progress, it is important that we do not lose sight of the core retail standards and commercial disciplines which have underpinned our longer-term growth to date.
“JD has a market-leading multi-channel proposition which maximises its consumer relevance and reach by creating, and then maintaining, a deep emotional connection with its consumers who see JD as an authoritative and trustworthy source of style and fashion inspiration with influences drawn from both sport and music.”
He added: “We were encouraged by the continued positive trading in the early weeks of the year prior to the emergence of Covid-19 and we firmly believe that we are well placed to regain our previous momentum.
“Looking longer term, there is inevitably considerable uncertainty as to what the effect of Covid-19 will be on consumer behaviour and footfall with future store investments highly dependent on rental realism and lease flexibility.
“Ultimately, however, we remain confident that we have a market-leading multi-channel proposition which has the necessary flexibility and agility to prosper within a retail environment that may see profound and permanent structural change.”
It added: “Initial footfall has been weaker in malls and shopping centres, particularly in Northern Europe at weekends, as consumers remain nervous about the risks associated with densely occupied enclosed spaces.”
Barrhead Travel has announced it will be making redundancies as a “direct result of the impact of Covid-19”.
The travel company announced that customer confidence in overseas holidays had dropped due to the ongoing health pandemic.
This, coupled with the end of the furlough scheme, meant the company has had to make “difficult decisions”.
Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, said: “In common with many others in our industry, we are having to make difficult decisions as a direct result of the impact of Covid-19 on holidays.
“Customer confidence has been dented by the ongoing uncertainty surrounding quarantine and travel restrictions. This, combined with the imminent closure of the furlough scheme, means we have had to announce a number of redundancies.
“We will be ensuring that there is full support available for all our colleagues – personally and professionally – over the coming months.”
The company also stated that the shop in St Vincent Street, Glasgow, was at risk of closure. However, it added that staff who are based there will be moving to the superstore on Oswald Street.
The travel agent currently has 76 shops in Scotland, with offices in Newcastle, Cumbria, Southampton, Leicester and Belfast.
Around 550 jobs are being axed at Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspaper publisher Reach.
The group – which also owns the Daily Record and a raft of regional newspaper titles across the UK – said it is cutting about 12% of its workforce under an overhaul aiming to save £35 million a year.
Reach said it will look to bring together its national and regional editorial teams across its titles in a more centralised structure, while also reducing its local commercial and finance sites and simplifying management.
It will end the recent temporary pay cuts for all staff, except senior executives and board members, and invest more heavily in its digital operations amid an increasing shift towards online news.
The group did not give details of where the job cuts would fall, though it confirmed plans for “more focused” editorial, advertising and central operations.
Reach chief executive Jim Mullen said: “Structural change in the media sector has accelerated during the pandemic and this has resulted in increased adoption of our digital products.
“However, due to reduced advertising demand, we have not seen commensurate increases in digital revenue.
“To meet these challenges and to accelerate our customer value strategy, we have completed plans to transform the business and are ready to begin the process of implementation.
“Regrettably, these plans involve a reduction in our workforce and we will ensure all impacted colleagues are treated with fairness and respect throughout the forthcoming consultation process.”
Details of the job cuts came as Reach revealed that group revenues slumped 27.5% in its second quarter to June 28 – dropping as much as 30.5% in April – as sales of newspapers fell sharply amid the coronavirus lockdown, while even digital revenues fell 14.8% despite readers switching online for their news.
It said circulation still remains “significantly” below levels seen before the pandemic, although it has seen a “modest but encouraging” improvement in June, with group revenue declines last month narrowing slightly to 23.9%.
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