Dixons has unlocked but not yet opened a trapdoor underneath at least 100 bods at its Hemel Hempstead HQ.
The retail biz today kicked off a 45-day redundancy consultation with headquarters staff. This comes ahead of a £3.7bn merger with Carphone Warehouse (CPW), first mooted in February, but Dixons insisted the head office bloodletting is in no way connected.
A PR hand sent us a statement confirming it has "entered into a period of consultation with a number of colleagues across the Retail Support Centre (RSC) to reduce our central costs in non customer-facing parts of the business".
Insiders claimed all departments bar the techies are under the shadow of the corporate axe, including buyers, retail support, planning, analytics folk, loss prevention and legal eagles.
One claimed "nearly all" at HQ are at risk, though it is unclear how many will eventually exit. Upwards of 500 staff are based at the Hemel Hempstead office. By law, the company must enter a 45-day period of consultation before anyone is dismissed if it is planning to layoff 100 or more workers.
Dixons' spokeswoman did not reveal exactly how many staff are at risk or are expected to leave.
An update on the deal with CPW is expected at latest by the close of play on 19 May, creating a 2,000 store empire that will employ roughly 25,000 staff.
A review of some outlets is expected but CPW tends to be located on the High Street and Dixons on retail parks, so mass consolidation is not understood to be on the cards.
Back office functions at the respective head offices will likely be heavily duplicated, nevertheless Dixons said this was not the rationale for this round of job cuts:
"This is part of our continued review of overheads and support structures," the PR person.
Dixons also has a contact centre in Sheffield and a customer repairs facility in Newark, neither of which are impacted by the redundancy process.
According to an FT report, analysts at Exane BNP Paribas reckon the merger will lead to savings of £100m. ®