England

Specsavers says 450 jobs 'at risk' due to lockdown

Specsavers, Hyde Image copyright Gerald England
Image caption Specsavers said it had suffered a "dramatic downturn in business"

Specsavers has announced a plan to cut 450 jobs amid a "dramatic downturn" caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

The opticians firm said support office workers, mainly based at administrative centres in Guernsey, Nottingham and Whiteley, Hampshire, were at risk.

The three offices will remain open, it said.

It said it had previously tried to avoid redundancies by implementing pay cuts and reducing some workers' hours.

Image copyright Specsavers Optical Group
Image caption Douglas and Mary Perkins set up Specsavers in 1984

The company said those "at risk of redundancy" represented nearly a quarter of its 2,000-strong support team, and store staff were not affected.

Co-founder and chief executive John Perkins said the business downturn was coupled with a "challenging outlook for the economy".

He added: "We sadly have had no option but to stop many of our major programmes, halt significant capital investment initiatives and carry out an exercise to streamline our organisational structure."

The firm said 70 of the affected jobs were based in Guernsey, but did not specify numbers at the other locations.

It said details of the salary cuts were "confidential".

The workers, who are not affiliated with a trade union, will be consulted before changes are implemented, the firm said.

Specsavers employs more than 32,500 people worldwide, including in Australia, New Zealand and some European countries.

Douglas and Dame Mary Perkins, who founded the company in 1984, have a personal fortune of £1.8bn according to the latest edition of the Sunday Times Rich List.

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