Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 15:07 UK

Shopping firm jobs under threat

Up to 280 jobs with a shopping company are under threat at seven sites.

Shop Direct Group Ltd said it had tried to move from mail order towards online and the way it dealt with customers had changed.

It said about 278 staff were being offered other shifts or the chance to "up-skill", but if this was rejected, they would face compulsory redundancy.

Jobs are at risk at Worcester, Bolton, Preston, Burnley, Sunderland, Crosby in Merseyside and Newtown, Powys.

Up to 65 jobs are under threat at Worcester, but the firm had not said how many jobs were at risk at the other six sites.

The firm has had nine shopping brands, including Littlewoods and Littlewoods Direct.

'Progressive change'

Since 2005 online sales had increased from 18% of products sold online to more than 50% now, the company said.

This figure was expected to rise to at least 70% of total sales by 2011, it added.

The company said it would soon start a formal consultation with workers and was working with trade unions and the management team.

Group chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: "We have seen a progressive change in the way customers engage with our contact centres.

"As a result, we need to re-align our resources to meet changing customer demand."

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