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Asda ‘to cut 1,200 jobs’ after fall in demand for in-store bakeries

Conrad Duncan
·2-min read
<p>Asda announced consultations earlier this year that could put up to 3,000 jobs at risk</p> (REUTERS)

Asda announced consultations earlier this year that could put up to 3,000 jobs at risk

(REUTERS)

Asda is to cut up to 1,200 jobs in plans restructure in-store bakeries due to a fall in demand for traditional bread loaves, according to a report.

The supermarket told the Daily Mirror that it was considering scrapping its current method of “scratch” baking to move towards using a centralised bakery to deliver pre-baked products to stores each day.

It said the move would affect 1,200 workers - but there are plans to redeploy as many employees as possible to others roles, with redundancy considered “the last option”.

“The current in-store bakery model has restricted our ability to respond to changing customer demands and offer them the speciality products and freshly baked goods they want to buy throughout the day,” Derek Lawlor, Asda’s chief merchandising officer, told the newspaper.

“The changes we are proposing will deliver a much better and more consistent bakery offering for customers across all our stores.

“We know these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this process.”

The decision is said to be due to changes in customer behaviour in recent years, with demand for speciality breads, wraps and bagels exceeding demand for traditional loaves.

Earlier this year, Asda launched consultations with about 5,000 workers over a major restructuring, potentially putting 3,000 jobs at risk.

The supermarket said in February that these consultations were inspired by a “structural shift” towards online grocery shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.

Roger Burnley, Asda’s chief executive and president, said the pandemic had “accelerated change across the retail sector” with an increase in home shopping.

However, he noted plans to create about 4,500 separate jobs in Asda’s online operations this year, with the supermarket chain looking to re-hire some of the staff affected by the potential cuts.

Mr Burnley added: “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.”

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