Tesco will cut around 4,500 staff in a fresh round of redundancies at the UK’s leading supermarket chain.
The grocery giant, which employs about 340,000 people in the UK and Republic of Ireland, said the majority of the jobs will be lost at 153 mid-size Metro stores. Others will be cut from the smaller Express chain of shops and the larger superstores.
The Guardian says the cuts are part of plans by the chief executive, Dave Lewis, “to slash £1.5bn from Tesco’s cost base in an effort to rebuild profits, which have never recovered from the 2014 accounting scandal”.
The BBC adds that the cuts come as “competition between supermarkets intensifies” and as “German budget rivals Aldi and Lidl continue to put pressure on the big four supermarkets”.
In a statement on its website, Tesco said it is making the cuts as part of an effort to “simplify and reduce processes and administrative tasks” across all of its Metro outlets.
“The changes in our Metro stores will be focused on better tailoring them to how our customers shop,” it said.
“The Metro format was originally designed for larger, weekly shops, but today nearly 70% of customers use them as convenience stores, buying food for that day.”
Tesco said that wider changes to the stores would now include “faster and simpler” ways of filling shelves, staff working “more flexibly” across the store to improve customer service, and a “leaner” management structure.
The move has been slammed by unions. Pauline Foulkes, Usdaw national officer, said members at Tesco were “shocked and dismayed”.
She added: “This issue is not confined to Tesco, our High Streets are in crisis, with jobs being lost due to shops closing, retailers folding and businesses engaging in significant restructuring to survive.
“We need the government to address the worries and concerns of shop workers and our members.”