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Thousand of jobs at Asda are at risk as supermarkets swing the axe

Oscar Williams-Grut
A man carries a shopping basket in an Asda store in northwest London, Britain August 18, 2015. Sales at Wal-Mart's British supermarket Asda fell for a fourth straight quarter on Tuesday, down 4.7 percent to confirm its position as the weakest performer in a sector hammered by the growth of discount retailers.

REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON – Thousands of Asda staff face the prospect of reduced hours or losing their jobs altogether, as the supermarket conducts a wide-ranging review of its workforce.

The Guardian reports on Friday that Asda is consulting with 3,257 employees in 18 underperforming stores about possible job cuts.

The supermarket is also considering a shake-up of staffing arrangements at a further 59 of its supermarkets, the Guardian reports, with the possibility that staff could be asked to work in different departments if required.

Job losses are expected to be in the hundreds, according to the Guardian.

The redundancies come after Asda's accounts last week showed a fall in profits and revenue. Pre-tax profit fell by 19% to £791.7 million and sales dipped by 3% to £21.6 billion.

Asda, which is owned by US retail giant Walmart, is not along in cutting headcount. Tesco announced 1,200 job cuts at its head office in June as part of a long-running cost cutting drive and Sainsbury's is similarly cutting 1,000 roles.

The UK's traditional "Big Four" supermarkets — Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, and Morrisons — are facing increased competition from German discounters Aldi and Lidl and from online players such as Ocado and Amazon.

Business Insider has contacted Asda for comment. The supermarket told the Guardian:

"We are currently in discussions with a number of our stores about changes that are needed to the number of hours required to run that store for our customers. It is common practice for a supermarket to need to make changes to hours based on the changing shopping habits of customers. We understand that any conversations about change are unsettling, but it is always our upmost priority to find alternative roles or working patterns for impacted colleagues."

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