Fashion-tech company Zalando to cut hundreds of jobs

22 Feb 2023

Image: © 4kclips/

Founders David Schneider and Robert Gentz told employees ‘we need to be a big company with a small company structure and mindset’.

Online fashion retailer Zalando, which has around 120 employees in Ireland, announced plans to cut hundreds of jobs as the economic slowdown continues to loom over industries.

Established nearly 15 years ago, Zalando is one of Europe’s most popular online retailer of clothes, shoes and beauty products. The company is based in Berlin and recently surpassed more than 50m active customers across 25 countries in Europe.

However, a pandemic-induced boom in demand for online shopping led the company to grow its headcount over the past couple of years. During this time, Zalando also opened a new office in Dublin and moved its market insights team to the city, creating 20 jobs.

Now that the pandemic tailwinds have faded, the fashion-tech company is reassessing its size and planning to remove “several hundred overhead roles across many of our teams”.

“Instead of a big company with a big company structure and mindset, we need to be a big company with a small company structure and mindset,” co-founders David Schneider and Robert Gentz told employees in a message yesterday (21 February).

“Sadly, this means we will need to let go of some of our colleagues, each of whom has worked hard to make Zalando the successful company we are today.”

While exact numbers of the job cuts are not known yet, Zalando has around 17,000 employees globally. A Financial Times report suggests the layoffs could downsize the company’s headcount by up to 5pc.

“Over the last few years, some parts of our company have expanded too much, and we have added a degree of complexity to our organisation that impacted our ability to act fast,” the founders explained.

“Since then, we have made good progress in recent months with our slowdown in hiring and efforts to simplify our organisation. Yet, going into 2023 we acknowledge that we are not where we need to be and as a result, we must take even more decisive action.”

They added that while there is no clarity yet around which roles will be affected by the layoffs, the job cuts will include employees at the senior leadership level.

However, frontline operations roles in logistics centres, customer care and outlet stores, as well as operational roles in our Zalando Studios, will not be affected, the founders confirmed.

“We will work closely with all business areas to shape the future set-up of our company and lead our teams through this difficult time,” they added. “We know that this is the right thing to do for Zalando and for all the success and impact to come.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic