Around 400 jobs are set to be axed across fast fashion chain Primark’s UK stores as the group looks to overhaul its retail management team.

The retailer, which has a store in the Westgate Centre in Oxford and Banbury, has launched a consultation with staff as part of plans to simplify its UK store retail management structure.

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It said the move aims to “provide clearer accountability, greater flexibility and more management support on the shop floor”.

While it is creating a new management level role as part of the move, it is also stripping out other roles and expects the changes to leave it with around 400 fewer retail managers.

Oxford Mail: Queues outside Primark on April 12, 2021 when shops reopened after lockdownQueues outside Primark on April 12, 2021 when shops reopened after lockdown

Primark, which is owned by Associated British Foods and employs 29,000 staff in total across 191 stores in the UK, expects the consultation to take place over the next couple of months.

Kari Rodgers, Primark retail director for the UK, said: “The changes we’re proposing will deliver a simplified and more consistent management structure across all of our stores, provide more opportunities for career progression and offer greater flexibility.

“We are now focused on supporting our colleagues who are affected by these proposed changes and will be going through the consultation process.”

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Details of the job cut plans came as Primark revealed it had seen a hit to recent trading as the Omicron variant of coronavirus kept shoppers away from stores.

The group said Primark’s UK like-for-like sales were 10 per cent lower in the 16 weeks to January 8 when compared with pre-pandemic levels two years ago, with so-called shopper footfall hit by the rapid rise in Omicron cases.

But AB Foods said shopper numbers and trading had since improved as Omicron fears ease and added that like-for-like sales were higher when compared with a year earlier, when stores were shut due to lockdown measures.

Total group-wide Primark sales were 36 per cent ahead year-on-year, it added.

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