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Norwich Jarrold job losses: Boss Minnie Moll among 90 to lose jobs ‘due to coronavirus’

Jarrold, London Road, Norwich

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Jarrold

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Jarrold closed down for about 12 weeks during the coronavirus lockdown period starting in March

The head of a 250-year-old independent department store group has been made redundant along with about a quarter of the workforce.

Minnie Moll, chief executive of Jarrold Retail, in Norwich, has left as part of “a restructure of our executive team” brought about by the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, the company said.

She had made an “outstanding contribution”, the chairman said.

A recent consultation has resulted in the loss of 90 roles across the group.

The company, founded in Woodbridge, Suffolk in 1770, moved to Norwich in 1823 and employs about 400 people.

The firm’s five-floor store is based in London Street, while there are smaller shops in Cromer and Wymondham.

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Jarrold

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Jarrold photographed on London Street in 1909

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Jarrold

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The five-floor department store’s fashion floor opened in 1965, housing the Eye-Catcher boutique

Earlier this year, the family-run business was granted the freedom of Norwich, and its chief executive said at the time it continued to thrive despite the national trend of struggling town centres.

It is celebrating 250 years of trade this year, but soon after it started marking the anniversary, it was instructed to close and its staff were furloughed.

Analysis – BBC East Business Correspondent, Richard Bond

Making nearly a quarter of its retail workforce redundant in its 250th anniversary year isn’t what Jarrold wanted to be doing at all.

But the flagship Norwich store isn’t immune from the enormous changes hitting the high street.

Ninety staff out of 400 are out of the door, including chief executive Minnie Moll. She was brought in two years ago to revamp the iconic department store.

Her changes – including the introduction of several new restaurants – brought in a younger, more affluent clientele.

But in a post-Covid world of social distancing, footfall is down.

Jarrold says it remains financially secure, but needs to cut jobs to survive in the long term.

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Jarrold

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Minnie Moll said in June she was excited to be reopening the store when anti-coronavirus restrictions were eased

Speaking ahead of the store’s reopening in June, Ms Moll admitted a trading recovery would be “long and slow”.

“That’s the reality and there’s no room for complacency,” she said.

Announcing her departure, chairman David Hill said: “We can confirm the Minnie Moll has left the business following a restructure of our executive team brought about by the impact of the current Covid-19 crisis.

“This is no reflection on the outstanding contribution Minnie has made to the business and the leadership she has shown in her time at Jarrold.

“We are very sad to see her go and she leaves with our sincere thanks and best wishes.”

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