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H&M announces plans to axe 170 stores across Europe this year after sales are hit by coronavirus

Some 2,200 workers involved in producing Jaguar Land Rover’s vehicles are today facing redundancy as the impact of coronavirus continues to hit British business.

Two in five of the entire workforce employed by DHL on the JLR logistics contract face losing their jobs, according to trade union Unite – just hours after fashion giant H&M confirmed it was closing 170 of its stores, putting hundreds of positions at risk.

The cuts are set to fall on all of JLR’s major factories in the North West and the West Midlands including Castle Bromwich, Ellesmere Port, Halewood, Hams Hall, Midpoint, Solihull and Tyrefort, will be affected by the proposed redundancies.

The union said DHL has not given a firm date about when the redundancy process will be completed but has indicated that half of the job losses are a result of a decline in car production and half are as a result of anticipated ‘efficiency savings’.

It comes just day before Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a crucial coronavirus recovery package in the Commons tomorrow.

Unite national officer for logistics Matt Draper: ‘This is a massive, bitter blow for a dedicated workforce – and on the eve of the chancellor’s speech underscores the urgency of need for jobs-saving action from the government.

‘Again, while governments in Spain, France and Germany are acting swiftly to secure a future for their car manufacturers, we see no such ambition from the UK government and as a result jobs are going.

‘Unite has not yet received any details of how DHL intends to make 50 per cent of the proposed redundancies through efficiency savings but we are making abundantly clear to DHL that they will not be able to force these workers to undertake impossible workloads as they show other workers the door.

‘While DHL is the employer, the reality is that the workers perform their roles for JLR. JLR has a moral duty to ensure that workers are treated fairly and decently during this incredibly difficult and stressful time.

‘DHL must not attempt to make permanent full-time staff redundant while continuing to outsource work to sub-contractors.’

DHL has been approached for comment.

It comes after fashion giant H&M announced plans to axe 170 stores worldwide this year in the wake of the crisis.

The closures, which are likely to see hundreds of jobs cut around the globe, come after sales fell by 50 per cent in the midst of the pandemic. 

The second biggest fashion retailer in the world, H&M Group also includes brands such as COS, Weekday and Monki, and has 305 stores in the UK.

However, bosses have not told MailOnline how many of the 170 closures will be in the UK, nor how many British jobs are at risk.  

Fashion giant H&M has announced plans to axe 170 stores across Europe this year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis

Fashion giant H&M has announced plans to axe 170 stores across Europe this year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis

How the fashion giant’s stores are spread across the globe 

  • United States – 593
  • China – 520
  • Germany – 466
  • United Kingdom – 305
  • France – 235
  • Poland – 190
  • Italy – 181
  • Sweden – 177
  • Spain – 167
  • Russia – 147
  • Netherlands – 138
  • Norway – 127
  • Denmark – 112 

The retailer reopened hundreds of its UK stores last month after the Government gave non-essential retailers the green light to welcome customers again. 

H&M said in its second quarter report to investors that it increased its previous closure plans by around 40 after feeling the impact of the virus across Europe in particular.

The group also intends to open 130 new stores elsewhere during the current year.

At the end of June, H&M said that 350 of its stores, representing seven per cent of all sites, were still closed as a result of the pandemic.

Globally, it boasts more than 5,000 branches, including 593 in the United States, 520 in China and 466 in Germany.

Helena Helmersson, chief executive officer of the group, said: ‘I am full of admiration for our employees’ commitment, drive and perseverance during this very challenging time.

‘As we have reopened our stores, sales have begun to recover at a faster rate than expected.

‘To meet the rapid changes in customer behaviour caused by Covid-19 we are accelerating our digital development, optimising the store portfolio and further integrating the channels.

‘With our ambitious sustainability work we want to continue to lead fashion retail towards a more sustainable future.’

An H&M spokesman told MailOnline: ‘Our physical stores are incredibly important to us and we want to ensure that we have H&M stores in the right locations. 

A shopper wearing a facemask walks past a Sale sign outside a H&M store in Oxford Street, central London last week

A shopper wearing a facemask walks past a Sale sign outside a H&M store in Oxford Street, central London last week

A shopper wearing a facemask walks past a Sale sign outside a H&M store in Oxford Street, central London last week

200,000 jobs already lost in Covid bloodbath:

Rishi Sunak faces a plea to keep Britain in work as the scale of the jobs bloodbath already under way is revealed today. Almost 200,000 workers at household-name companies have been laid off since the start of lockdown, an analysis by the Daily Mail has found. The Chancellor was told that his focus needs to be on ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ in his mini-Budget on Wednesday.

Senior figures warned that the job losses so far will be just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ unless dramatic action is taken. Major layoffs have hit sectors such as retail, travel, hospitality and manufacturing, all of which have been shaken by the coronavirus pandemic.

In just the past week alone, firms including Harrods, John Lewis, Cafe Rouge and Topshop-owner Arcadia have all wielded the axe, leaving more than 14,000 staff without a job. But data collated by the Daily Mail shows that 59 household-name companies have cut more than 195,000 roles since lockdown began in March.

Some of the biggest have been at Heathrow Airport, which has laid off 25,000 staff, British Airways, which is axing 12,000, and Rolls-Royce, which is cutting 9,000 jobs.

‘In the Six month report, H&M Group has previously announced that on a global level, it will close around 170 of around 5,000 stores around the world, across all of its seven brands, this will be alongside 130 store openings globally. 

‘At this stage we cannot comment on how this might affect stores in UK.’

Earlier today, newspaper company Reach, which publishes titles including the Mirror, Express and Daily Star, confirmed some 550 jobs, equivalent to 12 per cent of its workforce, was to be axed.

The overhaul, designed to cut costs by £35 million a year, came as Reach reported a 27.5 per cent decline in quarterly revenue.

The firm, which also produces regional dailies such as the Liverpool Echo and the Manchester Evening News, said it was facing ‘structural change’ in the sector, accelerated by the pandemic. 

Up to 250 royal staff could also be laid off this month, with even the Queen’s finances not immune from the impact of the crisis. 

 Meanwhile, Pret a Manger announced plans yesterday to axe 30 stores, putting 1,000 jobs at risk, as Britain’s High Street bloodbath continues. 

The coffee chain is looking to ‘reduce headcount across remaining UK shops to reflect lower footfall, rental costs and new safety measures’.

It said Covid-19 has seen sales plummet by 74 per cent, meaning it had to make a ‘difficult decision’.

Pret is the latest high street victim of the virus, following drastic cuts at numerous other stores including rivals Uppercrust as well as John Lewis and Harrods.

Almost 200,000 workers at household-name companies have been laid off since the start of lockdown, analysis shows. 

Chanceller Rishi Sunak faces a plea to keep Britain in work as the scale of the jobs bloodbath became clear.

He was told this week his focus needs to be on ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ in his mini-Budget tomorrow. 

‘Eat out to help out’: Chancellor Rishi Sunak warns a generation of young people risk being ‘lost’ to coronavirus pandemic unless people start spending in pubs and restaurants 

The Chancellor warned a generation of young people risked being ‘lost’ to the coronavirus unless the public started spending in pubs and restaurants.

Rishi Sunak asked Britons to ‘eat out to help out’ in a bid to boost the economy and avoid a jobs meltdown that will hit the young hardest.

Mr Sunak said he feared the younger generation would otherwise be ‘scarred by coronavirus’.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak asked Britons to 'eat out to help out' in a bid to boost the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic

Chancellor Rishi Sunak asked Britons to 'eat out to help out' in a bid to boost the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic

Chancellor Rishi Sunak asked Britons to ‘eat out to help out’ in a bid to boost the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic

He told the Times: ‘This is a consumption-driven economy; people used to, three months ago, go out with their friends or family to go and have a meal.

‘Or buy a car, or upgrade their house, or move house.

‘Go camping, come up to the Yorkshire Dales and go coast-to-coast.’ Mr Sunak added it was important to get ‘the next few bits right’ in order to save the younger generation’s jobs and lifestyles.

The Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane predicted last week Britain was headed for a V-shaped recovery.

Addressing the comments, the Chancellor said ‘we all want Andy to be right’ but conceded some hardship was inevitable.

Senior figures warned the job losses so far will be just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ unless dramatic action is taken.

Major layoffs have hit sectors such as retail, travel, hospitality and manufacturing, all of which have been shaken by the coronavirus pandemic.

Data collated by the Daily Mail shows 59 household-name companies have cut more than 195,000 roles since lockdown began in March.

Some of the biggest have been at Heathrow Airport, which has laid off 25,000 staff, British Airways, which is axing 12,000, and Rolls-Royce, which is cutting 9,000 jobs.

Thousands of smaller companies have also been reducing their staff. A total of 2.8million are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit while searching for a job, according to official data.

The pace of cuts is picking up as the Government’s furlough scheme, which has been used by 1.1million employers to protect 9.3million workers, draws to a close.

Companies have already used the scheme to pay £25.5billion of their employees’ wages.

Thousands who have been let go had originally been furloughed, leading to fears that millions more furloughed workers will never return to their job as Mr Sunak gradually withdraws the wage support.

A recent survey suggests 44 per cent of businesses participating in the furlough scheme believe they will have to let at least some of their staff go when it ends.

The poll of 500 companies, conducted by Opinium on behalf of the think-tank Bright Blue, found that 65 per cent medium sized firms with between 50 and 249 workers, said they expect to make redundancies.

A group of 120 industry leaders in the hospitality sector have written to Boris Johnson, calling for VAT to be cut temporarily from 20 per cent to 5 per cent to encourage consumers to spend.

The group, coordinated by industry body UK Hospitality, also wants the Government to defer July tax payments for businesses such as hotels and restaurants, hand out targeted grants, and extend the business rates holiday.

The Office for Budget Responsibility, the Government’s watchdog, predicted in April that around 3.4million people, or one in ten of the working age population, would be unemployed by the end of June.

H&M chief executive, Helena Helmersson, said in March: ‘Covid-19 continues to impact people, communities and companies around the world and I am full of admiration for our employees’ commitment, drive and perseverance during this very challenging time. 

‘The safety of our employees and customers remains our highest priority and we are reopening stores in line with decisions by the authorities.

‘Before the pandemic hit, we performed strongly – a result of many years of long-term investments to create the best offering for our customers and to meet the digital shift in the industry. 

‘This, combined with the fact that we have acted quickly to counter the negative effects of Covid-19 and that we are speeding up the transformation of the H&M Group, makes me convinced that we will come out of the current crisis stronger.’ 

How coronavirus has affected UK airlines and travel operators 

Flybe: Europe’s largest regional airline collapsed on March 5 after months on the brink, triggering 2,400 job losses and left around 15,000 passengers stranded across the UK and Europe.

British Airways: The International Airlines Group, which also includes Iberia and Aer Lingus, said on March 16 that there would be a 75 per cent reduction in passenger capacity for two months, with boss Willie Walsh admitting there was ‘no guarantee that many European airlines would survive’. The company has since said it wants to reduce the number of staff by 12,000. 

Loganair: The Scottish regional airline said on March 30 that it expects to ask the Government for a bailout to cope with the impact of the pandemic. 

Jet2: The airline has suspended all of its flights departing from Britain until April 30. A number of Jet2 flights turned around mid-air last month while travelling to Spain when a lockdown was announced in the country.

Virgin Atlantic: The airline said on March 16 that it would have reduced its lights by 80 per cent by March 26, and this will go up to 85 per cent by April. It has also urged the Government to offer carriers emergency credit facilities worth up to £7.5billion.

Ryanair: More than 90 per cent of the Irish-based airline’s planes are now grounded, with the rest of the aircraft providing repatriation and rescue flights. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said his airline would be forced to shed 3,000 jobs while seeking pay reductions of up to 20 per cent by those who remain. 

TUI: Holiday giant Tui is looking to cut up to 8,000 roles worldwide with the firm calling Covid-19 the ‘greatest crisis’ the industry has faced.

The UK’s biggest tour operator posted losses of 845.8 million euro (£747m) in the first half of 2020, compared to 289.1 million (£255m) in the same period 12 months previously. 

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