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Department Stores

Harrods reports £68m loss as restaurant staff to vote on strike action

United Voices of the World, a members-led, campaigning trade union, confirmed on Twitter that it has written to the bosses at the luxury department store notifying them a dispute has started which could lead to strike action over Christmas

Luxury department store Harrods has reported a loss of £68m for the 52-week period ending 30 January 2021.

According to its latest set of accounts published on Companies House, it comes after its gross transaction value decreased by 51% to £1.09bn and its turnover also fell by 50% to £429m down from £870m the previous year.

It attributed the loss to the impact of Covid-19 with pandemic lockdowns and a severe reduction in the number of international travellers visiting the department store.

It also revealed its costs had increased by £500m due to an increase in import administration and taxes.

However, despite the impact of the pandemic the company said that growth remained “strong” and that its cash reserves also remained healthy. It has also extended the terms of a £620m loan and a £200m credit facility set to be repaid in April next year by 18 months.

The news comes after it was revealed that the department store could be facing strike action from a number of its restaurant workers. United Voices of the World, a members-led, campaigning trade union, confirmed on Twitter that it has written to the bosses at the luxury department store notifying them a dispute has started which could lead to strike action over Christmas.

It told The Guardian it was balloting members about a strike in Christmas week after demanding pay be raised to a minimum of £12 an hour, from just over £9 an hour at present.

A Harrods spokesperson told the paper: “Alongside the wider hospitality industry, Harrods has faced an extremely difficult 18 months, with long periods of closure that have entirely removed our ability to operate as normal. However, throughout this, our absolute priority has been the welfare of our staff and safeguarding as many jobs as possible.

“We are constantly reviewing our pay policies to ensure they are in line with industry best practice and as well as base salary, Harrods employees receive generous overtime, 100% service charge (minus a minor admin fee) and benefits package.”

Harrods has been contacted for comment.

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