John Bull slashes 15% of staff
John Bull Group of Companies will axe 15 percent of its employees as coronavirus cases spike and the country’s economy further deteriorates.
“With over 60 percent of our locations still closed for business and a devastating blow to the company’s revenue, it is with a heavy heart and great regret that we must now move to reducing our staff complement by 15 percent. This action is extremely difficult, however, very
necessary in order for John Bull to continue to be able to function now,” Inga Bowleg, Director of Business Development advised in a statement.
Business owners were hopeful that business would pick up after borders reopened earlier this month. However, visitor arrivals have been lackluster as prospective visitors were turned off by the idea of taking COVID-19 tests to enter The Bahamas.
Then as cases surged following the opening of borders, the government issued a travel ban to and from all countries, excluding Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union. That means no tourists to shop in stores like John Bull.
Bowleg said the group of companies, which include John Bull, Starbucks, MAC, Gucci and Tory Burch, fought in the initial weeks to keep all staff on full salary but that was not sustainable.
“John Bull’s team members were extended full salary throughout the first few weeks of the Emergency Powers (COVID 19) Orders 2020, during a time when all of the company’s locations were closed. This scenario was not sustainable and in the ensuing weeks the company eventually extended exgratia payments to each employee representing up to 50 percent of their salary,” Bowleg said.
“As the economic downturn continues with the announcement of delayed cruise ship
arrivals to the port of Nassau along with uncertain reopening dates for local resorts, some very tough decisions are necessary to secure the company if we intend to have a future in retail beyond our 91 year legacy.”
“We had hoped to be in a position to retain all of our staff but given the current and foreseeable future state of affairs it is impossible,” she said.