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Selfridges to make redundancies at London head office

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Selfridges is to cut jobs at its London head office. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Luxury department store Selfridges is to make around 70 redundancies at its London head office.

The company, which has UK stores in the capital as well as Manchester and Birmingham, said it was making the move in response to “market conditions and the evolving needs of our customers”.

In a statement, Selfridges added that no redundancies were being made among its store teams.

The business also said that it was “responding decisively to changes we’re seeing from an international and digital perspective”.

Selfridges blames lack of tax-free shopping scheme

A Selfridges spokesperson said: “We are in the process of making proposed changes to some specific head office functions as we respond to market conditions and the evolving needs of our customers.

They also criticised the so-called tourist tax, saying: “The continued absence of a tax-free shopping scheme in the UK has significantly impacted international sales.

“Our proposals mean making around a two per cent reduction in our overall headcount.

“Our store team members are not part of this review. We are working through the details with our teams through the consultation process.

“We’re responding decisively to changes we’re seeing from an international and digital perspective.

“The proposed reduction equates to approximately 70 roles across specific head office departments however we hope to offer a number of those impacted redeployment opportunities.”

Takeover talk

The confirmation comes after it was reported last month that Selfridges was being circled by Chinese and Middle Eastern investors as the financial struggles of its Austrian co-owner Signa Holdings seemed to have triggered a bidding war. 

The Times reported in April that the department store’s other co-owner, Thai conglomerate Central Group, is interested in buying Signa’s stake in the business with another partner and is said to be in talks with sovereign wealth funds and tycoons.

The Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which supported Signa’s Selfridges bid, is among businesses said to be in the running. 

Harrods owner Qatar Investment Authority is also said to be interested, with interest reignited after its initial bid three years ago when the billionaire Weston Family put the luxury retail chain up for sale. 

In October, it was revealed that Selfridges had lost almost £40m during its latest financial year despite its sales rising nearly 30 per cent.

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