Although only a small number of job losses are expected – potentially as few as 12 – 30 members of staff have had to be consulted as the retailer seeks to improve efficiency and sustain performance.
Selfridges, which has consistently outperformed many of its rivals even in weakening trading conditions, said that changes arising from the consultation would make the business “even stronger and more efficient”.
A spokeswoman said: “This is in the context of a well managed, successful business. To keep it that way we will look to be as efficient as we can be.”
The retailer revealed earlier this year that like-for-like sales rose 5 per cent in December. Annual profits in the year to the end of January will be ahead of last year’s record£84m. Selfridges is continuing to perform ahead of last year.
The decision to restructure its head office, based in the flagship Oxford Street store, is designed to help Selfridges maintain its position as one of retail’s winners.
The spokeswoman said that the number of redundancies would be minimal because the retailer had successfully managed natural staff turnover. It also consulted the staff forum ahead of the process. “It has been done fairly and properly,” she said. The spokeswoman declined to comment on the seniority of staff likely to be affected.
Selfridges is also working to find affected employees other roles within the business and to promote internal candidates.
Retail Knowledge Bank senior partner Robert Clark said that in the present climate all retailers must examine cost structures and that Selfridges – with only four stores nationwide – could only review staffing levels rather than weed out any underperforming stores.
He said that Selfridges will continue to benefit from being innovative and introducing initiatives “around the edges” of its core offer.
“Selfridges has got a reputation for moving on and evolving its offer and concessions, and that will drive footfall,” he said.