C&A to shut 23 stores in Spain and make 300 workers redundant

BUDGET clothing chain C&A has announced plans to close down 23 ‘loss-making’ branches across the country, which will involve 16% of its staff being made redundant.

The Dutch firm, which has been operating in Europe for 175 years and in Spain for 34, says it plans to open other stores in the country but in different locations.

As part of what C&A Ibera’s general manager Domingo Esteves calls a ‘transformation and simplification plan’, one branch in each of the regions of Navarra, La Rioja, Asturias, Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha and the Canary Islands, plus another two each in Andalucía, the Basque Country and Catalunya will close.

Galicia and Castilla y León will lose three stores, and five will shut down in Madrid, plus a further five in Portugal.

The stores due to close for good are those where the lease is due to expire soon, or which have failed to make a profit in the past few years.

Esteves says the ‘restructure’ is aimed at ‘making the company stronger, more sustainable and more competitive’ in order to ‘continue to meet customers’ current needs and desires’ in a ‘more agile’ manner, within a market which is ‘increasingly more demanding and volatile’.

Once the mass redundancy procedure officially starts, the Federation of Independent Retail Workers (FETICO) says it will aim to ‘minimise the impact’ on affected staff and ensure those leaving are given the ‘best possible conditions’.

“At least the company has not started the process based upon the minimum legal requirements, but has held out its hand to us to negotiate what we do not want to have to deal with, but must,” said a spokesperson for FETICO.

Shop closures will take place progressively over the course of a year, and offices and warehouses will also need to be restructured as a result, says the union.

Among FETICO’s proposals are for staff to be given 40 days’ salary per year worked with the firm as opposed to 25 initially mentioned by the company and 20 at law, plus bonuses for long service.

It also wants C&A to reduce its workforce via as many voluntary redundancies and early retirements as possible, and to hire a specialist outplacement company to help affected employees find jobs.

The photograph shows the C&A store on the Gran Vía in Madrid, but the company has not revealed which branches will close as yet.

Published Think Spain21 January 20176

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