UK Job Loss Potential Continues to Mount with WH Smith Latest Covid-19 Casualty

Job losses
WH Smith a British Institution Credit: It’s No Game flickr

THE newsagent which has grown over the decades since its founding in 1792 is considering shedding 1,500 jobs, more than 10 per cent of its work force due to the lockdown.

The main area for concern is its UK stores at airports and railway stations as with a hugely reduced footfall, sales have literally plummeted and airport sites in particular are expensive to maintain.

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Things are slightly happier with its US airport operations as the bulk of flights are internal and are relatively well populated meaning that sales are still at acceptable levels.

In a statement on its finances, the company revealed that it expected to make a loss of at least £70 million (€77 million) for its financial year ending August compared to a profit of £155 million (€170 million) in 2019.

Despite this, reserves are relatively good and the company has strong lines of credit so with the potential reduction in staff it believes that it can return to profit.

There are so many High Street names suffering at the moment and in the last few days there have been threats of redundancies from such big names as bookmakers William Hill, Pizza Express, Selfridges, DW Sports (now in Administration) Hays Travel (which took over the Thomas Cook travel agencies in 2019) and many more.

The well-known groups are the ones the hit the headlines but across the country there are many much smaller businesses that are having to close and as the furlough scheme winds down, so many more jobs are likely to disappear.


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