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Manor department store chain to cut 150 jobs

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Manor department store chain to cut 150 jobs
Photo: Roland Zumbühl
21:37 CET+01:00
Manor, Switzerland’s biggest department store chain, is laying off 150 people in administration at its Basel headquarters after posting disappointing results for 2014.

Confirming a report about the layoffs on Wednesday from television station Telebasel, the chain emphasized that there would be no job losses at its 64 stores around the country.

Manor in January reported sales of 2.72 billion francs last year, down 2.9 percent from the previous year.

The company said the job cuts were necessary because of the strong Swiss franc and the related cross-border “shopping tourism” that is hurting merchants in Switzerland.

The franc has surged in value since the Swiss National Bank abandoned a policy, pursued for more than three years, of preventing the currency from appreciating in value against the euro.

In addition to the jobs cuts, Manor said it will also negotiate with suppliers to lower costs.

The retailer has made several announcements about drops in prices of merchandise as a result in the fall in the value of the euro against the franc.

Two weeks ago it announced price cuts for more than 1,600 products.

Even before the recent rise in the franc, Swiss retailers were struggling with competition in areas of the country that are close to neighbouring eurozone countries, such as France, Germany and Italy.

The lower value of the euro makes products in these countries cheaper for Swiss customers.

The common European currency, which was trading for 1.066 francs on Wednesday, was valued five years ago at 1.46 francs before tumbling to close to parity almost three and a half years go when the Swiss central bank decided to defend a 1.20-franc floor.

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