The sofa retailer said that support staff in warehouses had been most affected, rather than those at the “cutting edge of the business” and that there are no plans to make any more redundancies in the short term.
DFS chief operating officer Jon Massey said: “We have been cutting staff for the last few weeks. Any prudent business is looking at costs. It’s appropriate in the current climate and it would be surprising if people were not doing it.” Each business unit was asked to assess its required level of staffing in what DFS called a “bottom-up” approach.
Retail Knowledge Bank senior partner Robert Clark said that DFS’s action made sense in the tough market conditions. “Furniture retailers are always hit hardest in times like this, especially big-ticket ones. DFS is slap-bang in the middle of this segment.”
Clark said that the proportion of redundancies in relation to the 3,000 people that the retailer employs suggested that DFS is “weathering the storm probably better than most”.
Clark forecast more job losses in the retail sector and said it is likely that stores will shed about 5 per cent of their staff in the coming 12 months.
“There will be a steady stream of laying staff off, mostly done through non-replacement of people who have left and mainly in the stores,” he said.
Clark said cutting staff numbers is an obvious way to save money, because staff costs equate to 10 to 15 per cent of most retailers’ sales.