Budget fashion chain Primark has told 220 of its staff in the UK that they must agree to move to Ireland or risk being made redundant.
The changes will affect staff at Primark’s UK office in Reading, with roles in buying, sourcing, quality control, design and merchandising set to be shifted to Dublin from September.
Reading-based staff have been offered the chance to relocate to Ireland in a reorganisation intended to help the company’s push for international expansion, but they have also been told they may face redundancy as a “last resort” if they do not.
Primark, owned by Associated British Foods, announced the decision just days after saying that it expected profits in the first half to be well ahead of previous expectations, after it gained market share and improved its margins.
The chief executive, Paul Marchant, told Retail Week: “Currently, our product operations are separated across two locations, Dublin and Reading. From September 2019, we will be amalgamating all our buying, merchandising, design, quality and sourcing operations to be based at our headquarters in Dublin.
“This change will ensure our business strategy and our expansion into new international markets is fully supported.”
The group’s director of people and culture, Lorraine Culligan, added: “It is important that the scale of our business and the needs of our customers are reflected in our internal structures as Primark continues to grow.
“All of our people who are in any affected roles will have the opportunity to work in Dublin. Our colleagues will be fully supported during this period of change.”
The group’s Reading office will remain open, with around 270 staff not subject to the move to Ireland, the company said.
“Primark’s office in Reading continues to play a vital role in our business and many of our teams across a number of core functions will continue to be based there,” Culligan added.