Asda has put around 5,000 jobs at risk as it aims to simplify the business and focus on its online shopping offer.
The grocer this morning said it had begun formal consultations with 5,000 employees, but that it will create 4,500 new jobs in online operations this year.
The supermarket has proposed the simplification of back office store functions by merging cash office, administration, HR and training tasks into one job. This will affect around 3,000 members of staff.
The proposed closure of the Asda Dartford and Heston home shopping centres will impact around 800 workers, with future online orders in the south picked from local stores.
Store-level management roles will also be affected in the restructuring. Deputy store manager and section leader roles will be replaced by operations manager and online trading manager positions.
These proposals will impact around 1,100 jobs.
Asda, which was recently acquired by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital, said the new jobs will be based in-store but focused on picking groceries for online orders.
It said redundancy is the “last option”, and it is hoping to move as many workers as possible into alternative roles within the company.
The plans follow a “structural shift” in consumer behaviour towards online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic, with delivery volumes reaching levels that were expected to take nine years to achieve.
Asda said it has increased its online capacity by 90 per cent since last March to 850,000 weekly slots.
Roger Burnley, Asda chief executive and president, said the grocer’s priority is “to serve customers in the way they want to shop with us”.
He added: “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.”