C&A will undergo a major restructuring: the fashion group is opting for a leaner organisational structure, which involves merging and centralising some functions. It is not yet clear how many jobs will be lost.
Benelux also affected
C&A intends to create a "more agile and lean operating model", the German fashion group stated. The most important corporate functions at the head office will be consolidated and centralised, the company says, in order to be able to make decisions more quickly and with greater agility.
C&A currently has two European head offices: one in Düsseldorf (Germany) and one in Vilvoorde (Belgium). Trade union ACV Puls confirms that Belgian employees will be affected: the union is following up the case as a social partner. The scope of the planned restructuring is still unclear, however.
Seven divisions, four markets
Covid-19 is at the root of the restructuring, C&A admits. The consequences were significant and also showed that a combined approach of digital and offline is critical. Consequently, the group is implementing a number of organisational changes throughout Europe. In addition to the savings, C&A intends to invest significantly in digital solutions so that they can "improve the customer experience by serving their needs just as effectively online, as in stores."
According to the new organisational structure, in future, there will only be seven different divisions: Merchandise & Sustainability, Operations, Digital & Consumer, Selling & Markets, Finance & IT, People & Culture and Corporate Communications & Fashion PR. C&A also distinguishes only four markets in Europe: Germany, Central Eastern Europe, Benelux and Southern Europe. This entails that cooperation between the European head offices and the national head offices is to be intensified.
Talks with trade unions
The plans were presented to the European trade union representatives and employees on Wednesday morning. "C&A is committed to working closely with its social partners and team members to support employees who might potentially be affected in each market", the press release reads, pointing out that jobs will be lost in many different countries.
"Proposed changes like these are never easy to consider," says CEO Giny Boer, but: "In today's market, it is imperative that we consider positioning ourselves for success with a modern approach in our stores and a stronger digital offering, attuned to what our consumers need and ready to serve them."
In 2017, a restructuring had already been carried out at the European head offices. At the time, 70 jobs at the headquarters in Vilvoorde were cut. However, over the last few years, there have been more and more signs that C&A is not in great shape. The budget fashion chain recently had a management reshuffle and launched a new corporate identity, but the Covid pandemic would have been the last straw. Earlier, in France and Germany, dozens of store closures had already been announced.