White Stuff is preparing to make a “significant” number of redundancies, even after coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted, due to a fall in demand for its wares.

The fashion retailer is anticipating a sharp decline in demand post-lockdown, as well as reduced opening hours for its bricks-and-mortar stores, resulting in job cuts across its store network and head office, according to Sky News.

White Stuff, which employs more than 1,500 staff across its 120-strong store estate in the UK, told staff that it would begin consultations for potential job losses on Wednesday.

It declined to say how many people would be impacted by the decision, but said cuts would be significant and were caused by the ongoing pandemic.

White Stuff believes that the coronavirus pandemic will negatively impact trading conditions after lockdown has been lifted, so the retailer is acting now to ensure its entire store estate is able to reopen.

Social distancing measures are likely to continue even after stores reopen, with shorter opening hours and less customers, meaning fewer store associates will be required. 

The pandemic has also forced White Stuff to review its online strategy going forwards.

Chief executive Jo Jenkins told Sky News: “For the last 18 months, we have been on a journey to transform our business into a more digitally driven brand. What we were planning on doing to reshape the business, we now need to do more quickly.

“We need to face into the reality, particularly given the ongoing uncertainty of when and how shops might open given social distancing, that we need a leaner, more agile operating model that allows us to react to changing customer behaviour.”