Shop Direct, which owns Littlewoods, Isme and Very, has confirmed it is cutting jobs in its buying and merchandising divisions. As it makes the move from being a catalogue-led business into an online retailer, Shop Direct says it “continually reviews its operations to ensure efficiencies are met at every level”. As a result, up to 50 roles in the buying and merchandising function could be lost.
A further 1,800 staff are in consultation following the home shopping company’s plans to close two of its four contact centres due to a shift in consumer behaviour. Shop Direct says changes in customer shopping, contact and servicing patterns have meant that call volumes into the group’s contact centres have declined by 45 percent in the past five years, whereas contact via social media has risen by more than 1,400 percent over the last year. As part of its restructuring, therefore, Shop Direct has started consultations on the closure of its Worcester and Preston sites, and said it is transferring 1,800 of its staff to Serco, which will now handle all its customer contacts. Some work may also be switched overseas.
In related news, Serco has also won a contract to provide catalogue group Freemans Grattan Holdings with contact centre services. Under the 10-year agreement—worth £55 million—Serco will service all of FGH’s UK brands, including Grattan, Freemans, Oli, Kaleidoscope, Look Again, Bonprix, Curvissa and Witt International, managing seven million customer contacts every year. The Sheffield-based contact centre will manage customer enquiries, order processing and payments, credit applications, mail and email. The partnership will see all 400 existing staff transfer to Serco.
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