Online shopping surge prompts Next to rejig its management setup
High street retailer Next will restructure its management tier across UK stores.
The move is expected to affect over 50 roles at its 25 Northern Ireland shops. However, the company said there will be no job losses.
The changes come as retailers across the UK respond to tougher conditions on the high street.
Next said: "Next has redefined its store management structure nationally, this includes Northern Ireland. The change will be achieved through the non-replacement of leavers (i.e. by natural wastage) and not through redundancy.
"To reiterate - no management/supervisory roles in trading Next stores are under threat of redundancy, which should reassure those involved."
The firm added there "may be a few minor name changes to titles" but pay will stay the same.
It also said there would be no demotions, and non-replacement of leavers also only applies to management roles.
Next's restructure follows Tesco's decision in January to strip a layer of management in a cost-cutting cull of 1,700 shop floor jobs across its UK stores.
Along with other chains such as House of Fraser, Mothercare, Carpetright and Poundworld, Next has been responding to the shift towards online shopping.
Louise McAloon, an employment law partner at Worthingtons Solicitors in Belfast, said: "Alongside rent and service charges, staff costs are a significant overhead for retailers which affects their overall profitability. Reductions in headcount are unfortunately an inevitable component of organisational restructuring to reduce liabilities in the longer term.
"For retailers keen to maintain service and delivery standards, middle and senior management may be earmarked for restructuring and downsizing ahead of front line staff."
The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers said both a bricks and mortar and online presence is essential to succeed.
"Local government need to ensure their town centre and car parking policies attract shoppers and that commercial rates and rents are affordable," it said.
"National government must ensure a level playing field on retailers paying their taxes in the UK and them not undercutting each other on terms and conditions of employment."