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Bakery chain Greggs announces it will cut over 800 jobs

Greggs has announced plans to cut 820 jobs amid the pandemic after the boss has warned how ‘Covid trading conditions have forced this action onto the business’. 

Chief Executive Roger Whiteside warned that the bakery chain ‘will not be profitable as a business’ if sales continue at the rates they have been during lockdown. 

The Newcastle-based chain said at the end of September it was in talks with staff to cut hours to try and minimise job losses when the furlough scheme was expected to end in October. 

Greggs has announced plans to cut more than 800 jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic (stock image)

Greggs has announced plans to cut more than 800 jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic (stock image) 

In a statement posted on the Greggs employee information website earlier this week, chief executive Roger Whiteside said: ‘Covid trading conditions have forced this action onto our business and we are all very saddened by the need to part company with around 820 friends and colleagues, many of whom have worked with us for many years.’

He went on to say that ‘the battle with Covid hasn’t gone away and is intensifying further’ as lockdown measures continue to be in place across the four nations of the UK.

Mr Whiteside added: ‘At lockdown levels of sales, even after all of the mitigating action that we have taken, Greggs will not be profitable as a business and there can be no room for complacency.’ 

Chief Executive Roger Whiteside (pictured in 2016) warned that the bakery chain 'will not be profitable as a business' if sales continue at the rates they have been in lockdown

Chief Executive Roger Whiteside (pictured in 2016) warned that the bakery chain ‘will not be profitable as a business’ if sales continue at the rates they have been in lockdown

He told reporters at the time: ‘Some stores have staff hours which are just off what’s needed for current demand. But others are a long way off and will need significant change.’

The popular British bakery chain, famous for its sausage rolls and vegetable pasties, was founded as a Tyneside bakery in 1939, and has over 2,000 branches.  

It comes after high street retailer WH Smith has fallen into a £226 million loss in the past 12 months amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The Newcastle-based chain said at the end of September it was in talks with staff to cut hours to try and minimise job losses when the furlough scheme was expected to end in October. Pictured: Greggs in Slough, Berkshire

The Newcastle-based chain said at the end of September it was in talks with staff to cut hours to try and minimise job losses when the furlough scheme was expected to end in October. Pictured: Greggs in Slough, Berkshire

Their pre-tax loss is comes after forecasters previously described 2020 as a ‘write-off’ year for WH Smith.

The stationery retailer previously announced up to 1,500 jobs could be axed amid warnings from Analysts at Investec who previously said they expected it to deliver a £73 million loss.

Around 300 of its 1,600 stores were kept open after the first lockdown – primarily those in hospitals and with post offices attached – but the chain is expected to be better sheltered this time around after newsagents were given the green light to stay open.  

WH Smith said it had lost £226 million before tax in the 12 months to August, a swing from a £135 million profit a year earlier. Pictured, a store in London in August

WH Smith said it had lost £226 million before tax in the 12 months to August, a swing from a £135 million profit a year earlier. Pictured, a store in London in August

But in August the 228-year-old business said the dramatic fall in sales could force them to axe around 11 per cent of its workforce. 

It was a grim announcement for an already hammered high street after hundreds of jobs were also cut at high street fashion chain M&Co.

The chain also announced the closure of 47 stores, taking the number of workers facing redundancy as a result of the Covid crisis above 100,000. 

Within one week over the summer 651 roles were lost at Byron, 1,700 put at risk at DW Sports, 878 lost at Hays Travel and 1,100 put at risk at Pizza Express.

And when England went into lockdown once again this month, more job losses were announced as stores were forced to close once again.

The second lockdown, which requires all ‘non-essential’ retailers to close, also fell in the run up to Christmas when many firms make most of their annual profit.

John Lewis cut a further 1,500 jobs, adding to the 1,300 axed when it permanently shut eight stores in July. Pictured John Lewis in Westfield, Stratford, London, closed ahead of he four-week national lockdown

John Lewis cut a further 1,500 jobs, adding to the 1,300 axed when it permanently shut eight stores in July. Pictured John Lewis in Westfield, Stratford, London, closed ahead of he four-week national lockdown 

It was the latest blow in the bloodbath consuming retail in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.  

As a result, John Lewis cut a further 1,500 jobs, adding to the 1,300 axed when it permanently shut eight stores in July.

The retail giant was widely seen as a benchmark for High Street performance in the UK. 

Lloyds Bank also announced their decision to make 1,070 more staff redundant on top of the 865 earlier in the pandemic.

Within the same 24 hours Marks & Spencer also reported its first loss in its 94 years as a listed company. The company had already cut 8,000 staff since March.

Shops and restaurants under pressure following the coronavirus pandemic have had to close, with boarded up shops not an uncommon sight on the High Street. Pictured: London's usually busy Old Compton Street

Shops and restaurants under pressure following the coronavirus pandemic have had to close, with boarded up shops not an uncommon sight on the High Street. Pictured: London’s usually busy Old Compton Street

And Sainsbury’s also confirmed it would cut around 3,500 jobs across its Argos stores and supermarket meat, fish and deli counters, while Clarks shoes put the jobs of all 4,000 of its store staff on notice as part of its fight for survival.

The rescue package that was drawn up to aid the High Street giant saw the Clark family lose majority ownership of the company for the first time since it was founded nearly 200 years ago. 

More than a million jobs are expected to be lost before Christmas, even before the latest lockdown was announced, taking unemployment past 2.5 million. 

Sainsbury's announced it was cutting 3,500 jobs last week, as John Lewis, Clarks and Lloyds Bank all declared potential job losses

Sainsbury’s announced it was cutting 3,500 jobs last week, as John Lewis, Clarks and Lloyds Bank all declared potential job losses 

And analysis by the Local Data Company and Springboard suggests covid could leave up to 18,000 UK High Street shops empty as vacancies rise to the highest level since 2013. 

With England living under a second lockdown until December 2, ministers have been warned the retail industry faces losing £8billion as it loses out on vital Christmas sales. 

Non-essential shops have been forced to close, with some supermarkets including Tesco, cordoning off parts of their stores that contain non-essential items.

Since last Thursday, clothing and electronic stores, among others, have been forced to close.

Food shops, supermarkets and garden centres have been able to stay open.

Major firms have announced nearly 219,000 job losses since lockdown began in March, the Government has extended its furlough scheme to March, as it predicts a 'difficult,' winter

Major firms have announced nearly 219,000 job losses since lockdown began in March, the Government has extended its furlough scheme to March, as it predicts a ‘difficult,’ winter 

Tom Ironside, director of policy at the British Retail Consortium, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘[The Government] have decided that some sorts of retailers, supermarkets and pharmacies will be able to trade, and that’s right, but we think some of the restrictions are really quite arbitrary. 

‘The timing of this lockdown is clearly extremely difficult for the retail industry. This is the golden quarter for many retailers, and to lose a month of sales during this period is extremely difficult.  

‘We estimate that for those classified as non-essential retail forced to close, they’ll be losing £2billion pounds a week during this new lockdown.’ 

Last week Rishi Sunak announced the Government’s furlough scheme was being extended through to March, as he warned businesses face a ‘difficult,’ winter. 

How nearly 219,000 job losses have been revealed by major UK firms since lockdown began 

Some 215,471 job losses have been announced by major British employers since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March as follows:

  • November 13 – Greggs – 820 
  • November 5 – Sainsbury’s and Argos – 3,500 
  • November 4 – John Lewis – 1,500 
  • November 4 – Lloyds – 1,070 
  • October 29 – Pizza Express – 1,300 
  • October 7 – Greene King – 800 
  • October 6 – Virgin Money – 400 
  • October 6 – Vp – 150 
  • October 5 – Cineworld – 5,500 (many cuts likely to be temporary) 
  • September 30 – TSB – 900 
  • September 30 – Shell – 9,000 worldwide 
  • September 29 – Ferguson – 1,200
  • September 22 – Wetherspoon – 400 to 450
  • September 22 – Whitbread – 6,000
  • September 18 – Investec – 210
  • September 15 – Waitrose – 124
  • September 14 – London City Airport – 239
  • September 9 – Lloyds Bank – 865
  • September 9 – Pizza Hut – 450
  • September 4 – Virgin Atlantic – 1,150
  • September 3 – Costa – 1,650
  • August 27 – Pret a Manger – 2,800 (includes 1,000 announced on July 6)
  • August 26 – Gatwick Airport – 600
  • August 25 – Co-operative Bank – 350
  • August 20 – Alexander Dennis – 650
  • August 18 – Bombardier – 95
  • August 18 – Marks & Spencer – 7,000
  • August 14 – Yo! Sushi – 250
  • August 14 – River Island – 350
  • August 12 – NatWest – 550
  • August 11 – InterContinental Hotels – 650 worldwide
  • August 11 – Debenhams – 2,500
  • August 7 – Evening Standard – 115
  • August 6 – Travelex – 1,300
  • August 6 – Wetherspoons – 110 to 130
  • August 5 – M&Co – 380
  • August 5 – Arsenal FC – 55
  • August 5 – WH Smith – 1,500
  • August 4 – Dixons Carphone – 800
  • August 4 – Pizza Express – 1,100 at risk
  • August 3 – Hays Travel – up to 878
  • August 3 – DW Sports – 1,700 at risk
  • July 31 – Byron – 651
  • July 30 – Pendragon – 1,800
  • July 29 – Waterstones – unknown number of head office roles
  • July 28 – Selfridges – 450
  • July 27 – Oak Furnitureland – 163 at risk
  • July 23 – Dyson – 600 in UK, 300 overseas
  • July 22 – Mears – fewer than 200
  • July 20 – Marks & Spencer – 950 at risk
  • July 17 – Azzurri Group (owns Zizzi and Ask Italian) – up to 1,200
  • July 16 – Genting – 1,642 at risk
  • July 16 – Burberry – 150 in UK, 350 overseas
  • July 15 – Banks Mining – 250 at risk
  • July 15 – Buzz Bingo – 573 at risk
  • July 14 – Vertu – 345 July 14 – DFS – up to 200 at risk
  • July 9 – General Electric – 369
  • July 9 – Eurostar – unknown number
  • July 9 – Boots – 4,000
  • July 9 – John Lewis – 1,300 at risk
  • July 9 – Burger King – 1,600 at risk
  • July 7 – Reach (owns Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers) – 550
  • July 6 – Pret a Manger – 1,000 at risk
  • July 2 – Casual Dining Group (owns Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge) – 1,909
  • July 1 – SSP (owns Upper Crust) – 5,000 at risk
  • July 1 – Arcadia (owns TopShop) – 500
  • July 1 – Harrods – 700
  • July 1 – Virgin Money – 300
  • June 30 – Airbus – 1,700
  • June 30 – TM Lewin – 600
  • June 30 – Smiths Group – ‘some job losses’
  • June 25 – Royal Mail – 2,000
  • June 24 – Jet2 – 102
  • June 24 – Swissport – 4,556
  • June 24 – Crest Nicholson – 130
  • June 23 – Shoe Zone – unknown number of jobs in head office
  • June 19 – Aer Lingus – 500
  • June 17 – HSBC – unknown number of jobs in UK, 35,000 worldwide
  • June 15 – Jaguar Land Rover – 1,100
  • June 15 – Travis Perkins – 2,500
  • June 12 – Le Pain Quotidien – 200
  • June 11 – Heathrow – at least 500
  • June 11 – Bombardier – 600
  • June 11 – Johnson Matthey – 2,500
  • June 11 – Centrica – 5,000
  • June 10 – Quiz – 93
  • June 10 – The Restaurant Group (owns Frankie and Benny’s) – 3,000
  • June 10 – Monsoon Accessorise – 545
  • June 10 – Everest Windows – 188
  • June 8 – BP – 10,000 worldwide
  • June 8 – Mulberry – 375
  • June 5 – Victoria’s Secret – 800 at risk
  • June 5 – Bentley – 1,000
  • June 4 – Aston Martin – 500
  • June 4 – Lookers – 1,500
  • May 29 – Belfast International Airport – 45
  • May 28 – Debenhams (in second announcement) – ‘hundreds’ of jobs
  • May 28 – EasyJet – 4,500 worldwide
  • May 26 – McLaren – 1,200
  • May 22 – Carluccio’s – 1,000
  • May 21 – Clarks – 900
  • May 20 – Rolls-Royce – 9,000
  • May 20 – Bovis Homes – unknown number
  • May 19 – Ovo Energy – 2,600
  • May 19 – Antler – 164
  • May 15 – JCB – 950 at risk
  • May 13 – Tui – 8,000 worldwide
  • May 12 – Carnival UK (owns P&O Cruises and Cunard) – 450
  • May 11 – P&O Ferries – 1,100 worldwide
  • May 5 – Virgin Atlantic – 3,150
  • May 1 – Ryanair – 3,000 worldwide
  • April 30 – Oasis Warehouse – 1,800
  • April 29 – WPP – unknown number
  • April 28 – British Airways – 12,000
  • April 23 – Safran Seats – 400
  • April 23 – Meggitt – 1,800 worldwide
  • April 21 – Cath Kidston – 900
  • April 17 – Debenhams – 422
  • March 31 – Laura Ashley – 268
  • March 30 – BrightHouse – 2,400 at risk
  • March 27 – Chiquito – 1,500 at risk

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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