Shop Direct to axe 1,500 jobs

Home shopping group Shop Direct is to axe 1,500 jobs at three of its centres, union leaders were told today.

The GMB said the cuts in Sunderland, Burnley and Newtown in Mid Wales were a "devastating blow" to local communities.



The union said it would do everything it could during the 90-day consultation to lessen the impact of the "disastrous" news.



Northern regional officer Mick Hopper said: "We have been in negotiations with the employer over a long period to arrive at work practices and terms and conditions of employment to ensure the success of the company.



"This announcement is a body blow in an area of very high unemployment. We will be seeking help from elected representatives and other Government agencies to see what can be done to save jobs."











Shop Direct confirmed it planned to close its contact centres in Sunderland, Burnley and Newtown, adding that it aimed to create 350 new roles at its remaining sites.

The company said in a statement: "Following a successful peak trading period where total sales grew by 6 per cent and online sales by 19 per cent, Shop Direct Group now looks set to exceed its target of 70 per cent of its sales online by 2010/11.



"More of its customers are choosing to shop its brands through the web and today it has announced proposals to change its operational structure to reflect this change in customer behaviour.



"With more customers shopping online than ever before and peaking at 85 per cent during the recent Christmas period, Shop Direct Group is now faced with excess capacity and more space in its contact centres than it needs to handle the declining call volumes.



"Less than four years ago, 33 million calls were taken through its contact centres compared to only 19 million today. Customers are becoming increasingly self-sufficient, choosing to transact through the web and manage their accounts online."



Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: "We recognise that this is a very difficult time for those teams affected by the proposed contact centre closures.



"We are working closely with the trade unions to help staff through the consultation process and support them in finding future employment.



"Over the past five years, the proportion of our online sales has grown from 18 per cent to account for over 60 per cent of our business today resulting in excess capacity and space in our contact centres.



"We are a strong and growing business and we need to adapt to reflect the way our customers choose to shop with us."



The shopworkers' union Usdaw said the sites will close in April or May.



National officer David Johnson said: "The closure of Shop Direct sites and the subsequent loss of so many jobs will come as terrible news for our members.



"Usdaw opposes the closures and we will be examining the business case in further detail through our national forums to see if there is any way to avoid the closures.



"Should these closures go ahead, we will be doing all we can to ensure that our members receive the best possible redundancy package and are kept fully informed throughout the process at this time of uncertainty."

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?