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Exclusive: White Stuff to cut store staff roles

British lifestyle brand White Stuff has put four levels of store staff roles into consultation as part of its ongoing business transformation, Drapers has learned.

Staff across all of White Stuff’s 127 UK stores will be affected as the company consolidates six retail roles into four new positions. Documents seen by Drapers explain that the assistant manager position will be removed, leaving two salaried roles: shop manager and deputy manager.

The retailer will also consolidate its in-store visual merchandiser role with two customer host positions into two new roles: senior customer host and customer host. These will be paid on an hourly rate.

All staff in the four affected roles have been put into consultation. The new staff structure will take effect from 10 October.

No stores will close as a result of the restructuring.

The documents said the restructuring was “not a cost saving exercise”, but a “rebalancing of [its] cost base to ensure future success”.

White Stuff declined to comment on how many staff will be put into consultation but stated that the process will result in a 4% reduction in shop staff hours, and 7% of current employment costs will be shared to other areas of the business.

The change is part of a wider focus on omnichannel for the brand.

The documents said: “It is our belief that the future in retailing is to work closer together between all channels and provide a modern seamless customer experience, regardless of where our customer shops. For this reason, we have decided to diversify our investments and cost base. This means unfortunately a reduction in overall cost base in stores and an increase in investments in other areas of the business.”

In its most recent results for the year to 28 April retail sales at White Stuff fell 13.4% year on year to £86.6m. However, ecommerce sales grew by 3.5%, which the brand said “represent[ed] our investment in a new web platform and momentum in our multichannel strategy.”

Chief executive Jo Jenkins said: “We are committed to putting the customer at the heart of everything we do, and ensuring that we deliver amazing customer experiences, no matter how our customer chooses to shop.

“As a result, we are reviewing our in-store staffing rotas to ensure that colleagues are working at times to give maximum customer service as well as ensuring our cost base is balanced across the business.”

Jenkins joined White Stuff in October 2017 from Marks & Spencer, where she was director of clothing and beauty. Since then she has appointed Boden’s Penny Herriman as customer director and Marks & Spencer’s Paula Bonham Carter as buying and design director.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Is 3.5% growth in e-commerce really momentum? Worrying.

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