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Sainsbury’s to cut 1,500 jobs amid £1bn cost-cutting drive

Sainsbury's
Roles will be cut across the supermarket's bakeries, warehouses and call centres, as well as in head office - Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Sainsbury’s is poised to axe 1,500 jobs as it forges ahead with plans to cut £1bn in costs.

A simplifying of operations will lead to roles being cut across the supermarket chain’s bakeries, warehouses and call centres, as well as in head office.

This forms part of efforts by Sainsbury’s to free up cash as it tries to lure shoppers back from rivals.

Around 1,500 roles are expected to be lost, although Sainsbury’s said these plans were still subject to consultation.

The job losses come after chief executive Simon Roberts revealed the company’s new strategy earlier this month, during which he refused to rule out redundancies.

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Sainsbury’s has said it wants to strip £1bn in costs out of the business, on top of the £1.3bn already taken out in the three years to March 2024.

Cost-cutting plans will mean existing employees will also be asked to work more flexible hours. Mr Roberts said at the time: “We can’t afford to be carrying any inefficiency in our business.”

Simon Roberts
Mr Roberts revealed the company's new strategy earlier this month, during which he refused to rule out redundancies - Henry Nicholls/Reuters

The latest changes include a shake-up across Sainsbury’s bakeries, as the supermarket wants to move to a more efficient way of serving freshly baked products throughout the day.

It said it has launched a consultation with bakers in stores, adding that it has “reassured affected colleagues that it will find alternative roles for them where possible, as it will for any colleague affected by changes proposed today”.

Other changes include a paring down of roles in its store support centre, with plans affecting people in its HR and supply chain teams. It said investments in technology and automation meant it would also need fewer local fulfilment centres, affecting workers in those sites.

Sainsbury’s said it was also making changes to customer service and had told staff in its Widnes contact centre that it had decided to outsource this work to an existing partner.

It said: “The vast majority of colleagues affected will transfer to its service partner, which is a major employer and offers a range of career and redeployment opportunities.”

It comes less than a week after The Telegraph revealed that Waitrose owner John Lewis was also making changes to its customer service team, with hundreds of workers at its third-party provider Foundever facing redundancy.

Sainsbury’s is plotting the staff shake-up as it races to seize momentum after gaining shoppers back from rivals Aldi and Lidl over the crucial festive period.

In the latest Kantar figures this month, Sainsbury’s increased its market share to 15.6pc from 15.2pc a year earlier, having grown its sales faster than Aldi.

Mr Roberts said: “As we move into the next phase of our strategy, we are making some difficult, but necessary decisions.

“The proposals we’ve been talking to teams about today are important to ensure we’re better set up to focus on the things that create a real impact for our customers, delivering good food for all of us and building a platform for growth. I know today’s news is unsettling for affected colleagues and we will do everything we can do support them.”