EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Bankrupt retailers and pension gaps

Bankruptcy is arguably the most traumatic type of company restructuring from an employer as well as an employee perspective. It often involves wholesale job losses in a limited timeframe, often in companies with extensive employment across hundreds of shops and stores. To make matters worse, when British Home Stores [BHS] declared bankruptcy in June with the likely loss of 11,000 jobs, it was revealed that the employee pension fund had a shortfall of over £500m putting in doubt entitlements of redundant workers as well as former workers. Strengthening protocols for responsible management of company pension funds should be a priority especially in the retail sector where the majority of large-scale restructuring job losses are attributable to bankruptcy; aside from BHS, 2016 has seen the demise of Dutch retail chain V&D (8,000 jobs) as well as Greek chain Marinopoulos (13,000 jobs) in late June.

Updated September 2016