Inside Retail has reported Wesfarmers have quietly laid off 100 staff in its Catch Group ecommerce division.
Initially reported on Friday by Inside Retail, the job cuts at Catch Group have been quietly carried out amid a media blackout ahead of Wesfarmers’ February 15 results announcement.
“Like many ecommerce brands, Catch has made the difficult decision to reduce its workforce as the business adjusts to changes in online demand that has occurred following the Covid period,” a spokesperson told Inside Retail. “We want to be as efficient as possible to drive value for our customers.”
The company said it is looking to redeploy as many as possible of the impacted workers at other divisions of the group.
“Treating people with respect is our number one priority and we are providing counselling and outplacement support to impacted team members.”
According to Inside Retail, staff lost their jobs last week, with the payrolls of some departments said to be cut by as much as 30 per cent. The cuts will impact the marketing, product and technology, and finance divisions at Catch Group.
Catch Group has been underperforming since it was acquired by Wesfarmers in 2019 for $230 million. Despite the COVID online shopping boom, the company has seen little growth in its time with Wesfarmers. In Wesfarmers’ FY22 results, the GTV for Catch increased only 1.6 percent YoY to $989 million. According to the report, the performance of the in-stock business resulted in higher levels of inventory clearance compared to the prior year.
The past year has seen a variety of organisational shifts and movements in the company. In June last year, chief executive Peter Sauerborn stepped down from the business as Wesfarmers conceded that the company needed a ‘change of direction’. In recent weeks, Catch’s chief product and technology officer Tomas Varsavsky has also stepped down. Catch is now led by Brendan Sweeney who joined as Managing Director in October 2022.
Wesfarmers joins a variety of businesses letting go of staff following an unsustainable lockdown induced demand for online retail. Wesfarmers’ half year results are set to be released next week, and while it refused to comment further on this matter, the results are likely to offer some context for the lay offs.
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