Shop Direct has announced proposals to close its standalone clearance operation, Littlewoods Clearance, which comprises seven UK stores branded ‘The Outlet’, websites including ‘Bargain Crazy’, and a Bolton-based fulfilment centre and head office team.
The proposed move would impact 143 permanent colleagues, with whom Shop Direct will soon enter into a period of consultation, and six agency colleagues. If enacted, redundancies are anticipated as a result of the proposed closures, which are expected to be completed by the end of February 2019.
Littlewoods Clearance sells unsold stock from Shop Direct’s retail brands, including Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com.
Sam Perkins, group retail director at Shop Direct, said: “While it has been successful in clearing unsold stock for many years, our standalone operation Littlewoods Clearance is expensive to run and is losing money. Aware of this, and the need to continue our digital transformation, which has seen us remove the catalogue and consolidate brands in recent years, we reviewed alternative options for clearance.
“We found that selling unsold stock in bulk to third parties is the most efficient way to clear it. Simplifying our approach in this way will allow us to free up money to invest further in our digital future and focus on our core pureplay online business.”
She added: “The proposal to close Littlewoods Clearance is a difficult decision, but one we believe is necessary for our business. Our priority is to provide a fair outcome for our team and we’ll do everything we can to support potentially impacted colleagues. The company’s recognised trade union, Usdaw, is aware of the proposals, and we are keeping them updated on progress.”
The number of employees affected by location is below:
|Location||Potentially impacted colleagues|
|Bolton head office||28|
|Croal fulfilment centre, Bolton||25|
|Bulwell store, Nottinghamshire||14|
|Ebbw Vale store, Blaenau Gwent||17|
|Flint store, Flintshire||17|
|Heckmondwike store, West Yorkshire||11|
|Llandudno store, Conwy||10|
|Newtown store, Powys||13|
|Wisbech store, Cambridgeshire||8|