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Manor department stores to cut 476 jobs across Switzerland

The high street retailer Manor has announced plans to reduce approximately 5% of its workforce due to online competition and the effect of coronavirus on sales.  

The company said the decision was part of a strategic transformation to bring its high street and online shopping arms closer together. The Basel-based firm has drawn up a redundancy plan. 

The company revealed that 91 out of 830 positions will be eliminated at the Basel headquarters and 385 in department stores across the country. Manor is a significant player in the Swiss high street with 59 department stores, 30 supermarkets and 27 restaurants. The company is owned by the Geneva-based holding company Maus Frères. 

There are no plans to close any subsidiaries though, as the group regularly assesses the profitability of the various sites, said a company spokesperson. In Zurich, where Manor had had to abandon its flagship location on Bahnhofstrasse after a lengthy dispute with landlord Swiss Life, the company is still “intensively” looking for an alternative solution, the spokesperson added. 

The retailer, under pressure from e-commerce and weakened by the coronavirus pandemic, wants to accelerate multi-channel distribution by bringing together purchases made in its stores and online. 

“The coronavirus crisis has hit the non-food sector within the retail trade hard, but it has also had a catalytic effect,” said CEO Jérôme Gilg, and that “the acceleration in our e-commerce activities is in line with our two-year progress strategy”. 

Manor’s stated objective is to increase the current share of online commerce fivefold by the end of 2024. The management wants to focus on fresh products and gastronomy in the food segment and on fashion, beauty, interior decoration and household items in the non-food segment.