• 170 roles to go as Clarks restructures
  • ”Majority” of jobs are at Somerset HQ
  • Marketing and product functions to be combined

Footwear retailer Clarks has confirmed that 170 staff will be made redundant across its global business in the next month. 

Responding to reports earlier this week that suggested around 200 jobs were facing the axe, Clarks blamed a “highly demanding commercial and economic environment, with increasing competition and intensified customer expectations” as the reasons for its global restructure and the job losses.

The “majority” of the affected roles are based at Clarks’ head office in Street, Somerset.

Clarks has already begun the restructure by combining its product and marketing functions, focusing on its global distribution channels and “making best use” of its product development teams in Somerset and Boston.

The retailer added that it would also address “duplication of capabilities and inefficiencies across the company”.

Clarks said “a significant number” of employees across global operations have also been asked to take on new roles and responsibilities.

The retailer said in a statement: “We treat all our employees, past and present, with the respect they deserve and the company has a full package of support in place for those affected, including assistance to help them find new employment.

“Clarks believes these changes will help create a business that’s fit for the future, which is leaner, faster and more effective and better able to respond to customer demand and rapidly changing markets. This will ultimately ensure the future success and development of the Clarks brand.”

Clarks, which has 550 stores in the UK and Ireland, parted ways with its chief executive and finance boss last year. At the time, the board said new leadership was needed to overcome “challenges”.

In its last full-year, Clarks reported a 3.2% drop in group sales, while pre-tax profits edged up 1.4%.