The Warehouse proposes laying off 180 staff

Warehouse staff were told yesterday about a proposal to make about 180 store managers, team leaders and supervisors across 99 stores redundant.

NBR understands it's part of a change to the company's leadership structure at store level, with new roles being created so some staff may be re-employed. 

A spokeswoman for the Warehouse says a proposal was shared with staff yesterday, which was developed with input from a working group of store managers. 

"It’s a proposal only and we are seeking feedback from our teams before deciding on next steps, so it’s not appropriate to comment further at this point," the spokeswoman says.

First Union's Dennis Maga says team leaders will be replaced by a sales or trade manager and supervisors will be replaced by the second in charge.

“It’s about removing those long-time employees. I think it will save them a lot of money in terms of long-term costs.

“We have to remember that [some of] these supervisors and team leaders have been at The Warehouse for 15-20 years." 

Mr Maga says four years ago, the Warehouse raised the wages of staff who have done the required training for their jobs and have at least 5000 hours experience.

The Warehouse Group has been struggling in a tough trading environment for some years, amid increasing competition from offshore and online retailers.

The retail group has started a three-year transformation programme to reduce operating complexity under chief executive Nick Grayston, who took over more than two years ago from Mark Powell – who also attempted to overhaul the business.

This transformation includes changing its pricing strategy from high-low stock clearances to everyday low pricing, which management thinks will simplify operations and won’t expose it to as much to international price-based competition as a discounting strategy would.

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