Around 4,500 staff at Tesco are set to lose their jobs in the latest round of redundancies at the UK’s biggest supermarket, the company has announced.
The majority of workers will go from Tesco’s Metro stores, with other positions going at some Express and larger stores, Tesco said.
Bosses want to overhaul the Metro stores, which are bigger than Express stores but smaller than larger supermarkets, saying that shoppers tend to use them for top-up shops, rather than buying bigger baskets.
The company said in a statement: “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.”
The changes to stores will include fewer products in the back of the store, with more moving straight to the shop floor when they are delivered.
Staff will also be expected to be more flexible, working across different departments and adding more focus on keeping stock levels high during busy lunchtime rushes, among other tasks.
There will also be a “leaner management structure” and workers will be given headsets to communicate more easily throughout the stores, the company added.
In 134 Tesco Express stores – out of 1,750 – there will also be a reduction in opening hours due to low footfall.
Jason Tarry, Tesco UK and Ireland chief executive, said: “In a challenging, evolving retail environment, with increasing cost pressures, we have to continue to review the way we run our stores to ensure we reflect the way our customers are shopping and do so in the most efficient way.
“We do not take any decision which impacts colleagues lightly, but have to make sure we remain relevant for customers and operate a sustainable business now and in the future.”
Earlier this year Tesco revealed it would be cutting 9,000 staff as it slimmed back its store offerings, shutting deli counters in some outlets and reducing the amount of time they are open in others.
Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw, which represents over 160,000 Tesco staff, said it is calling for Government action to tackle the crisis in retail.
Pauline Foulkes, Usdaw National Officer, said: “Our members at Tesco are shocked and dismayed by yet another round of potential job losses, coming just months after 9,000 staff were put at risk in stores.
“We will be working hard to make sure that any members potentially affected by these proposals are supported at this difficult time and throughout the consultation period.
“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 shopworkers and our members.”