Jobs fear at Primark in Peterborough as retailer looks to axe about 400 UK roles

Staff at Peterborough’s Primark store are facing an uncertain time after the retailer announced it is to cut up 400 jobs nationally.

By Paul Grinnell
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:19 am
Primark at the Queensgate shopping centre in Peterborough. EMN-200615-114819009

The discount fashion chain, which operates a major store in the Queensgate shopping centre, is looking to axe about 400 management roles across its 191 UK outlets.

The company, which is part of the Peterborough-based Associated British Foods, has started consultations with staff, which it says could go on for several months.

The cuts are aimed at simplifying the retailer’s management structure.

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While Primark, which has 29,000 UK staff, says it is creating a new management level role as part of the move, it also stripping out other roles and expects the changes to leave it with around 400 fewer retail managers.

Kari Rodgers, Primark retail director for the UK, said: “The changes we’re proposing will deliver a simplified and more consistent management structure across all of our stores, provide more opportunities for career progression and offer greater flexibility.”

Details of the job cut plans came as Primark revealed it had seen a hit to recent trading as the Omicron variant of coronavirus kept shoppers away from stores.

The AB Foods group said Primark’s UK like-for-like sales were 10 per cent lower in the 16 weeks to January 8 when compared with pre-pandemic levels two years ago, with so-called shopper footfall hit by the rapid rise in Omicron cases.

But AB Foods said shopper numbers and trading had since improved as Omicron fears eased.

It said like-for-like sales were higher when compared with a year earlier, when stores were shut due to lockdown measures.

Total group-wide Primark sales are 36 per cent ahead year-on-year.

AB Foods said supply chain problems had begun to ease since last autumn, although it is still seeing some delays at ports and with shipments.

The group is offsetting higher costs by cutting store operating costs and overheads.

It says sales are expected to be “significantly” higher year-on-year between now and April, with all its stores open.

It added: “It is difficult to predict future trading conditions with certainty, but we have seen an encouraging improvement in footfall in the UK and Ireland as the disruption from Omicron reduces.”