Fashion retailer SuperGroup announces 60 job cuts

Fast-growing fashion retailer SuperGroup has announced a shock decision to lay off up to 60 staff at its Gloucester distribution centre.

The Cheltenham-based business behind Cult Clothing and Superdy famously begun on a market stall by founder and chief executive officer Julian Dunkerton has entered in consultation with staff over redundancy.

​Ironically the grim announcement accompanies the firm’s decision to invest £1.5 million in moving its distribution operation from Barnwood to a Wincanton-owned quarter of a million square foot warehouse on the Gloucester Business Park at Brockworth.

“The new site will require fewer people and it is anticipated that approximately 50 to 60 employees may be at risk of redundancy,” said a statement from the company, which currently employs 186 staff currently in its Barnwood distribution centre.

“SuperGroup is therefore announcing its intension to consult with affected employees about its proposals and this process will commence on Friday January 27, running for 30 days until Monday, February 27.”

While the Cheltenham-headquartered company continues to expand both national and globally even through the recession, issues with its UK distribution arm caused it major headaches in the second half of last year, costing it to the tune of £8.8 million.

Under the proposal being put to staff those affected would in future work out of the new location off Hurrican Road at what is described as a “managed service” site, run by Wincanton under contract to Supergroup. The majority of roles at the new site will remain with Supergroup.

The company said: “At present this does not involve SuperGroup’s other Barnwood-based wholesale or e-Commerce operations.”

Tim Owrid (corr) is head of logistics at Supergroup and the man in charge of reshaping the firm’s distribution operations since September last year. He has previously worked for major retail chains including House of Frazer and Selfridges.

“The site at Barnwood is old and not designed as a distribution centre. Clearly we do not want to detract from the 50 or 60 people facing redundancy, but there is a positive side to this story as well in that we are investing heavily in the new site.

“It is a commitment to our future in the Gloucester area, but we also have an emotional commitment here.”

During the Christmas period just gone the company was sending out 70,000 items a day from its Gloucester base, 20 per cent up on the same period last year. The new building, said Mr Owrid, had the capacity to cope with the company expanding its operations twice over. SuperGroup has signed a two-year lease on the building.

Source: This Is Gloucestershire