mark newton jones littlewoods shop direct.jpgShop Direct is axing up to 1,150 jobs after the company entered into a 90-day consultation period with its staff. The group owns the Littlewoods brand and their clothing also features in Additions and Kays catalogues.

The company was forced to close its call centre in the Liverpool suburb of Crosby but Shop Direct Group's chief exec Mark Newton Jones asserted that the redundancies were due to a change in consumer's shopping habits rather than the recession:

"We anticipate that 70 percent of our sales will be online by 2010/11 and, therefore, the future of our business is online-led. We are a strong and growing business. In order to maintain this growth, we need to continue to adapt and change to the needs of our customers."

He added: "We recognise that this will be a difficult time for those members of our team impacted by today's announcement. We do hope to relocate 250 of them and we will do everything we can to support those affected."

The company who owns Freemans and Grattan catalogues is also entering into consultation with its staff. It could be that these retailers, who operate under a more traditional model, are feeling the pinch as the UK high street ups its game, responding quickly to consumer needs and trends and providing added value with niche brands and designer collections.