FALMOUTH-based clothing firm Seasalt has announced plans for job losses at its head office as it emerges from the coronavirus lockdown.

The firm's CEO said it was "with a heavy heart" that jobs would be lost at its Falmouth Business Park offices.

Paul Hayes said: “Ever since the outset of this crisis situation, we have done everything we can to look after our Seasalt employees and community’s wellbeing and safety.

"We have had to take measures to combat the challenges we face as a result of Covid-19 and, as part of this, the reality and consequence will be some job losses, so it’s with a heavy heart that we have started consultation for a small percentage of jobs at our head office. ”

The company said that, like many other businesses, particularly those in retail, Seasalt had been "severely impacted by the events of the past few months".

It said it therefore had to "reshape" its business as it looked to recover from the crisis.

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A spokesperson said: "Although we have continued to trade online during lockdown, this does not negate the effect of seeing our wholesale channel close down and the shutting of all of our shops, losing approximately a third of our sales revenue for the year due to the temporary closures.

"With continued uncertainty around store performance for all retailers and the likelihood of severe economic challenges ahead, we have had to make a decision to prioritise our online channel, shifting the focus from growing the number of stores for the remainder of this year and beyond.

"This has made it necessary to review how we operate our distribution centre and customer services departments to meet customer requirements in the best possible way.

"This will see a reorganisation of those teams to streamline ways of working and increase efficiency, not a reduction in headcount.

"However, the intention to concentrate our efforts on growing our online business coupled with the expected decrease in footfall in physical stores and the restrictions on how we operate our shops with safety measures in place for the foreseeable future, means that we will also be reviewing roles in head office that provide support for the stores in particular, but not exclusively."

Seasalt said the process involved "some very difficult decisions to prepare Seasalt for the ongoing challenges ahead".

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It is now entering into a consultation period with affected staff and said it had not yet made a final decision on the number of roles that would be lost, but said it would be "around 10 per cent of our head office staff at the most".

The spokesperson added: "We are incredibly grateful to all of our Seasalt family, who have worked tirelessly through this unprecedented period and kept the business trading.

"We are very aware of the impact on all of our close-knit workforce and we will continue to do our utmost to explore alternatives to job losses to keep people in the business, in addition to doing everything we can to support our employees through this difficult time.

"For many years, we have not seen significant job losses at Seasalt.

"We take our responsibilities as one of Cornwall’s largest employers very seriously and we are taking action now to protect the majority of jobs, in Cornwall and across our store locations, by securing the medium and long term viability of the business, following the devastating effects of the global pandemic."