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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
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

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Graduate / Trainee Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Orgtel are seeking Graduate Trainee Re...

HR Business Partner - Banking Finance - Brentwood - £45K

£45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: ** HR Business Partner - Senior H...

PA / Team Secretary - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: PA / Team Secretary - Mat...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz