White Stuff cuts almost 400 jobs as it responds to a faster than ever shift online

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Fashion retailer White Stuff today said it was to cut 390 jobs in the latest phase of a transformation programme responding to the shift of sales online. That shift, it said, was moving faster than ever since the Covid-19 lockdown. 

Some 100 redundancies will be made at its headquarters and 290 in its UK retail team, following a consultation with staff. This said White Stuff in a statement, signalled a “fundamental reshaping of the business”. 

The retailer, ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research, said that over the last 18 months it had developed its online sales and focused on becoming a more digitally-driven brand through a business transformation programme. That programme aimed to respond as customers do more of their shopping online. But the speed of change increased during coronavirus lockdown Covid-19, when more of its existing shoppers started to buy from it online and others tried it for the first time. Since then, change that might have previously taken years to happen had now come about in the space of weeks, it said, and customers are not likely to go back to their old ways while social distancing persists. 

Now, it says, it needs a new and more agile approach that will allow it to continue to react to changing customer behaviour while building its White Stuff community.

Jo Jenkins, chief executive of White Stuff, said: “We need to face into the reality, particularly given the ongoing uncertainty of when and how shops might perform given social distancing, that we need a leaner, more agile operating model that allows us to react to changing customer behaviour.”

White Stuff was founded in 1985 and today is a lifestyle fashion brand selling online and through about 100 shops in the UK.

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