WH Smith reveals 1,500 jobs at risk due to coronavirus

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The store is expected to lose between £ 70m and £ 75m for the year through August (Picture: PA)

WH Smith could cut up to 1,500 jobs, as the coronavirus crisis continues to wreak havoc on the streets.

Sales at the retailer were down 57% in July from the same month last year and the store is expected to record a loss of between £ 70million and £ 75million for the year through August.

WHSmith Group CEO Carl Cowling said today that a “significant number” of employees would be affected by the cuts, as the travel industry in particular struggles to recover from the pandemic.

He said: “In our travel business, as we begin to see early signs of recovery in some of our markets, the speed of recovery continues to be slow.

“At the same time, although there has been progress in our Main Street business, it continues to be affected by a low attendance rate.

“As a result, we now need to take additional steps to reduce costs in our operations.

Shoppers wearing headgear walk along the street in Manchester, north west England, August 3, 2020 (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

“I regret that this is having an impact on a significant number of colleagues whose roles will be affected by these necessary actions, and we will do our utmost to support them in this difficult time. ”

Just over half of WH Smith UK travel agencies have reopened and 246 of the larger sites have resumed operations.

All of its 575 department stores have opened – but footfall is largely down from last year.

It comes as a number of other mass-market brands reveal they are cutting jobs, with sales dropping amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Boots are set to lay off 4,000 people, while Marks & Spencer will cut up to 950 positions and Selfridges will cut 450 jobs.

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