More than 350 members of staff have been made redundant at Crawshaw, the high street butcher, after they were put into administration recently.
It is feared that these will be only the first jobs to go, with a further 261 roles still under threat at the beleaguered company.
Restructuring process begun
Hunter Kelly and Charles King were selected from the restructuring team at financial services provider EY to begin the administration process. They have now started to make changes at the Crawshaw Group and its subsidiaries, being quick to identify several areas of the business which needed to be cut dramatically.
Kelly has confirmed that a total of 354 food jobs have been axed so far. However, he reiterated the hope that a sale of the business might be enough to save the remaining jobs that are still on the line.
Crawshaw had been operating 42 high street butcher shops as well as 12 factory outlets before their troubles began. Administrators have decided to focus on the 19 stores which remain profitable, continuing trading at those locations for as long as possible, as well as the processing and distribution centre in Rotherham. These sites will function as normal while the search for interested parties continues.
Kelly said that the fall into administration was due to some of the pressures felt by other failing stores on the high street. “Crawshaw has not been immune to the well-documented issues on the high street, which have resulted in a number of stores becoming loss-making. Despite the new management team’s best efforts, it was not possible to raise additional investment to restructure the business by reducing the number of high street stores and expanding its successful factory shop format and in-store SPAR butchery offering. Crawshaw’s out-of-town factory store format has proved to be successful and we are hopeful that a purchaser can be found who can take forward management’s plan for these profitable stores.”
He pointed out that Crawshaw were in such a position that they were not going to be able to get rid of the high street stores quickly enough. They would have run out of cash before they were able to do so, putting the factory outlets at risk as well – and this was why they were forced to go into administration.
Plenty to worry about
The news of the job losses comes just a short couple of weeks after the firm first announced that they had not been able to find a buyer or raise enough cash to save them from administration. With such a sudden shift of fortunes, and plenty more similar stories happening elsewhere on the high street, retail workers must necessarily be feeling a lot of worry about the future of their jobs.
There is plenty to worry about, according to Martin Lane of credit broker site Money.co.uk. The way he puts it, worry is in fact a sensible choice in the current climate. “Anyone who works in the retail industry who may be worried about the future of their jobs should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” he said.
Crawshaw are far from being the first high street retailer to collapse in recent months, and they are not at all likely to be the last, with a few other businesses already on the rocks.
The food industry has been hit particularly hard. With restaurants, retail shops, factories, wholesalers, and other parts of the supply chain all suffering, it looks like those in food careers have had a rocky number of years. The other side of the story is the many new businesses and expansions during the same time period.