HUNDREDS of people could lose their jobs as the coronavirus crisis rocks the Hampshire economy.

Specsavers has revealed that 450 support office jobs are at risk of redundancy across its Whiteley, Nottingham and Guernsey offices.

The company has blamed a sizeable downturn in business on the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

According to a Specsavers spokesperson, there are 539 people employed at its office at Solent Business Park, Whiteley.

In total 70 jobs will be cut at the Specsavers Guernsey office meaning the remaining 380 redundancies will be spread across Whiteley, Nottingham and other smaller national offices.

When pressed by the Daily Echo, the company was unable to confirm the exact number of cuts at the local office.

The company will give more details at the end of a 45 day consultation period which started on Tuesday, May 18.

However, Specsavers reports that its Whiteley office will not close.

Potential redundancies will impact support office staff at all levels of seniority and span all business functions.

Meanwhile, staff employed in Specsavers’ 900 UK stores are not affected by the cuts.

CEO John Perkins said: “We have done everything we possibly could to avoid making people redundant, including cutting salaries, the introduction of part-time working arrangements and using the government’s furlough scheme.

“Like many other companies, we have suffered a dramatic downturn in business because of the pandemic and, coupled with a challenging outlook for the economy, we sadly have had no option but to stop many of our major programmes, halt significant capital investment initiatives and carry out an exercise to streamline our organisational structure.

“Moving forward, our focus is on rebuilding the business to protect the interests of our joint venture partners and their store teams – giving them the opportunity to grow and thrive as they continue to best serve our customers.”