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Luxury department store Harrods to cut nearly 700 jobs

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Luxury British department store Harrods said on Wednesday it plans to cut up to 672 jobs because of the coronavirus crisis, which kept its flagship branch in central London closed for nearly three months.

Harrods, which is owned by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), told staff it needed to shed up to 14% of its total workforce of 4,800.

Employees affected will primarily be in parts of the business that have been worst hit by the lockdown.

Chief Executive Michael Ward warned it would take a drastic improvement in external conditions for Harrods' business to recover and return to growth.

"The necessary social distancing requirements to protect employees and customers is having a huge impact on our ability to trade, while the devastation in international travel has meant we have lost key customers coming to our store," he said.

The job losses at Harrods add to a grim toll for the sector.

The owner of Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza said earlier on Wednesday it may cut up to 5,000 jobs, while Philip Green's Topshop-to-Dorothy Perkins Arcadia group said it was shedding 500 posts.

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Stephen Addison)

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