Sainsbury’s has announced it will close 200 cafes in its stores this year as it attempts to rival discount retailers.
The supermarket said 200 Sainsbury’s cafes will close to customers in the spring this year while it will roll out 30 food halls and 30 Starbucks cafes.
Around 2,000 staff will be impacted by the changes with store workers affected will be prioritised for vacant roles in supermarkets.
Some 67 cafes will remain open while the supermarket eyes plans to change its hot food and drink offering in 250 stores.
The supermarket is expanding a partnership with Boparan Restaurant Group which runs Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Ed’s Diner outlets.
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the changes were “yet more slimline measures” in a bid to cut costs across the business.
Sainsbury’s is vying with discount retailers Lidl and Aldi as shoppers look to for bargains amid soaring grocery inflation.
She added: “It’s sliding down the value chain, and investing heavily in reducing prices and this is the latest in a raft of recent restructuring moves by the retailer as it seeks to keep a lid on rising costs.
“Just over a year ago it began closing its delicatessen counters, to reduce food waste and make stores simpler to run. The retailer is under pressure to trim workforce costs and logistics, problems which have been compounded by supply chain issues and labour shortages.”
The news was “devastating” for affected workers, according to the retail trade union Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.
Dave Gill, Usdaw national officer, said: “Usdaw’s local reps and officials will now engage in talks with store managers, where they will be looking at the business case for the company’s planned changes.
“Usdaw’s priorities are to keep as many staff employed in the business and achieve the best deal possible for those affected. In the meantime we are providing our members with the support, advice and representation they need at this difficult time.”
Sainsbury’s boss Simon Roberts said: “We know that customers like the convenience of being able to have a drink, a snack or a meal while they’re doing their shopping – and that they love the range of food and brands on offer at The Restaurant Hub and from Starbucks.
“As we go through this period of transition, we have taken the difficult decision to close 200 of our cafes next month. We have spoken to all colleagues affected by these changes today and are absolutely committed to supporting them in any way we can during this uncertain time.
“Of course, we understand this is very unsettling for our colleagues, but we must keep adapting our business to make sure we are offering customers the best possible food and drink at affordable prices.”