Asda puts 1,200 jobs at risk in major overhaul of in-store bakeries
Asda puts 1,200 jobs at risk as it plans to shut 341 in-store bakeries and use one centralised factory amid soaring sales of wraps, bagels and speciality loaves
- Asda is set to axe up to 1,200 jobs at in-store bakeries because of fall in demand
- Britain’s second-largest supermarket chain is scrapping baking at 341 of its sites
- It said shoppers were buying more wraps, bagels, pancakes and speciality loaves, and having a single large bakery will enable it to expand its range
Asda is set to axe up to 1,200 jobs in its in-store bakeries because of a fall in demand for traditional loaves of bread.
Britain’s second-largest supermarket chain is scrapping baking at 341 of its sites, which will instead be served by a centralised bakery.
It said shoppers were buying more wraps, bagels, pancakes and speciality loaves, and having a single large bakery will enable it to expand its range.
It is the second round of cuts in two months, after 5,000 jobs were put at risk by the closure of two warehouses and the shake-up of back office roles.
A source close to the company said both decisions were made independently of Asda’s new private equity-backed owners, Zuber and Mohsin Issa, because their acquisition remains subject to approval from the competition watchdog.
Asda said that it was treating redundancy as ‘the last option’ during the consultations, which it said was sparked by changing tastes among shoppers.
Britain’s second-largest supermarket chain is scrapping baking at 341 of its sites, which will instead be served by a centralised bakery
‘If the proposals are enacted, the priority will be to move as many colleagues as possible into alternative roles within Asda, with redundancy the last option,’ the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
Customers are increasingly looking for speciality breads, wraps, bagels and pancakes ahead of traditional loaves.
The shift will see a centralised bakery delivering a larger range of pre-baked goods to supermarkets each day, replacing the current model where the goods are baked from scratch on site.
Asda chief merchandising officer Derek Lawlor said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Asda’s move follows a similar decision by Tesco, taken just over a year ago, which put up to 1,800 jobs at risk.
The chain said at the time it would do less baking from scratch in stores, citing a similar shift away from traditional loaves and bread.
Asda was sold by US giant Walmart for £6.8 billion in December last year to Mohsin and Zuber Issa, brothers who made their billions from petrol stations.
However the decision to slash the bakeries was taken independently of the Issa brothers. The Competition and Markets Authority has taken out an order which prevents them exercising influence over Asda until it can assess the deal.
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