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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Marks & Spencer to cut 1,000 jobs
M&S store front
There are fears M&S is heading for another downturn
Retailer Marks & Spencer has announced plans to cut 1,000 top jobs over the next two years.

The chain said 500 head office and back office jobs would be lost during 2004/05, with another 500 job cuts likely to follow later.

But the company said the 58,000 people it employs in its stores nationwide would not be affected.

M&S' performance has come under close scrutiny in recent months after poor sales at its core clothing division.

May review

The company has said the cutting of 500 jobs could equate to an annual saving of 25m before one-off costs.

This is an integral part of our plan to kick-start the next stage in the transformation of the business.
Roger Holmes, M&S chief executive

M&S employs around 5,000 people in its head office and financial services departments in London, Manchester and Chester.

The number of job cuts will be decided as part of a review beginning in May but the final figure "could be higher", an M&S spokeswoman said.

M&S has been losing market share to rivals such as Next in the past few months.

"This is an integral part of our plan to kick-start the next stage in the transformation of the business," M&S chief executive Roger Holmes said in a statement.

"It is also an important step in creating a more efficient organisation."

Shares in the firm were unchanged as news of the cuts emerged.

M&S earlier this month appointed Vittorio Radice to invigorate its ailing clothing division.

Mr Radice developed the retailer's new homeware range and is a former chief executive of Selfridges.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
"The chief executive says it will make the business more efficient"



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