Asda reorganises toward internet retailing

UK supermarket giant Asda has announced a major restructuring away from its stores and towards internet retailing. It will be cutting 5,000 jobs while creating 4,500 new roles.

The move comes after Asda was bought by the Issa brothers from Walmart in the last week in a deal worth £6.8bn.

Asda chief executive Roger Burnley says: “The pandemic has accelerated change across the retail sector especially the shift towards grocery home shopping and our priority is to serve customers in the way they want to shop with us. The last 12 months have shown us that businesses have to be prepared to adapt quickly to change and I am incredibly proud of the way we demonstrated our agility and resilience through the pandemic. As customer habits continue to change we have to evolve our business to meet these demands and ensure our business is strong and sustainable for the long term.

“We know that these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this consultation process. Our plans to transform the business will result in more roles being created than those we propose to remove and our absolute aim is to ensure as many colleagues as possible stay with us, as well as creating the opportunity to welcome new people to our business.”

In the last year, Asda has increased its internet delivery capacity by 90% to meet demand, and now has capacity of 850,000 delivery slots a week with plans to reach a million a week by the end of the year.

The restructure will include closing two online fulfilment centres in Dartford and Heston as the grocery chain moves its online fulfilment operations into its stores. This move will cost 800 jobs but Asda say will improve its same-day and one-hour delivery offerings.

Some 1,100 deputy store manager and section manager roles will go, to be replaced by operations manager and online trading manager roles. This will actually mean an increase in the number of store level manager roles.

Around 3,000 back office roles will be affected too as the grocery chain streamlines operations there. For example, less cash is used in transactions with the company so many of these roles will be rationalised.

The GMB Union is consulting with Asda over 3,700 potential job losses.

Roger Jenkins, GMB national officer, says: “Asda workers have had a torrid two years. The failed Sainsbury’s takeover, twelve months working on the pandemic frontline and now the uncertainty of a new take over, saddling the company with huge debts and potential sell offs.

“This is the last thing they need. The scope of today’s announcement means 5,000 people have their lives put on hold. It’s not right. Asda is a profitable company that does not need to enforce redundancies. GMB will battle hard to make sure no one leaves their job unless they want to.”

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