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More than 400 jobs at risk at department store chain Fenwick

Fenwick is swinging the axe on 421 jobs as part of a major cost-cutting drive. Picture: Jonathan Hordle/PA Wire

Fenwick is swinging the axe on 421 jobs as part of a major cost-cutting drive. Picture: Jonathan Hordle/PA Wire

Retailer Fenwick is swinging the axe on 421 jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive amid a collapse in annual profits.

The department store chain, which has a branch in Colchester, said the cull was part of a turnaround effort and will affect management, support and shop floor staff.

It came as Fenwick posted a 93% fall in pre-tax profits to £2m after being stung by a hefty impairment charge on the value of its properties and costs linked to a restructuring plan.

Gross sales also decreased by 3.6% to £411.1m in the 52 weeks to January 26.

A Fenwick spokeswoman said: “Our annual results reflect the challenging market conditions all department store groups are facing, including increased competition from online retail, declining footfall on the high street, and increasingly competitive price discounting. We have also restructured parts of the business and have made the difficult to decision to cut staff numbers across the business, reducing total headcount by 421 to 2,879.”

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