Online success sparks Shop Direct change

Successful online trading has resulted in call centre job losses numbering 1,500.
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The firm, which owns Woolworths.co.uk and the Littlewoods brand, and was this week a nominee in the BTHA toy retailer awards, has announced that it is restructuring its call centres in the wake of declining telephone traffic.

In a statement, the company said that more customers were choosing to shop with its online brands, peaking at 85% over the Christmas period.

Less than four years ago, 33 million calls were taken at its call centres, compared with just 19 million today. As a result, the group said that it was proposing to close its call centres in Sunderland, Newtown and Burnley with the loss of 1,500 jobs.

Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive, said: "We recognise that this is a very difficult time for those teams affected by the proposed contact centre closures. We are working closely with the trade unions to help staff through the consultation process and support them in finding future employment.

"Over the past five years, the proportion of our online sales has grown from 18 per cent to account for over 60 per cent of our business today resulting in excess capacity and space in our contact centres. We are a strong and growing business and we need to adapt to reflect the way our customers choose to shop with us".

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