Tesco ends speculation and announces job cuts of 4,500-plus

Tesco interior
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Tesco has announced changes that will impact 9,000 staff, as it continues its “turnaround” strategy to reduce costs in response to what it calls a “competitive and challenging market”.

The company said that it thought that up to half of the 9,000 employees would be redeployed in other customer-facing roles.

Some 90 fresh food counters will close and others will cease to operate the same hours. Stock control, head office roles, and merchandising will be further areas where redundancies are to be made, while remaining staff canteens will become self-service only.

Contrary to many media reports over the weekend the retailers’ bakery counters will be unaffected.

Over the weekend there was widely reported speculation that Tesco could be on the cusp of making 15,000 workers redundant – equating to 3.4% of its 440,000 global workforce.

In a statement this afternoon at 2.30pm Tesco said: “Overall, we estimate that up to 9,000 Tesco colleague roles could be impacted; however, our expectation is that up to half of these colleagues could be redeployed to other customer-facing roles. We are working with our third-party providers to understand the impact on their staff in our colleague hot food service.

“Media speculation over the weekend was premature and we have accelerated our communications to colleagues in order to reduce the significant uncertainty created by incorrect information.

“We will be doing all we can to help colleagues affected by these changes, including offering redeployment opportunities wherever possible.”

Many of the staff effected will be those who work on fresh food counters, which are present at most of the 732 larger Tesco stores in the UK.

The supermarket has been in a turnaround programme for several years, in the wake of the false accounts scandal of 2014 and is also thought to be reacting to the difficult trading environment experienced over Christmas.

On joining the company in 2014 chief executive Dave Lewis set a target to cut costs by £1.5bn by 2020 to increase profitability.

Despite the target, Tesco employee numbers in the UK peaked in 2016 at 335,068 and are still higher (325,000) than in 2014 when 318,000 people worked for the retailer.

Earlier today, Bruno Monteyne, senior analyst, European food retail at Bernstein, told the Radio 4 Today Programme that the 15,000 figure being touted in the media seemed to him to be “way too high”, and would mean about 20 people per big store being laid off.

Monteyne added there were several ways he expected Tesco to make cost cuts. For example, fresh food counters didn’t need to be open all day, every day in every store. At outlets in smaller towns, “there’re a lot of fresh fish counters open on a Monday or Tuesday afternoon where there’s a lot of waste with hardly any people buying”.

8 Responses to Tesco ends speculation and announces job cuts of 4,500-plus

  1. Avatar
    Ed 5 Feb 2019 at 7:31 am #

    Jason tarry said last year “over my dead body” he would allow this to happen again…

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      ruth steele 9 Feb 2019 at 12:38 pm #

      wonder if he will fall on his sword and offer to go as well, think not !!

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    Katie 12 Apr 2019 at 6:08 am #

    I’m disgusted with this company!!! Tesco are such a terrible place!! Threatening cruel and vile management!!! They have no idea what they’re doing to lower income families making people redundant! The management of that place needs to wake up and see their true colours! Stop employing lazy new staff and use the ones already available! Tesco does not get a good name in my book any more!

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    S A Jackson 24 Apr 2019 at 8:12 pm #

    Tesco – now there was a time when those in high places valued staff and staff felt valued, hence one of the reasons among many that generally good, polite and helpful staff were available to help customers, had time for customers and enjoyed their roles.
    As an Tesco ex-senior mid-manager, having worked in stores, regions, head office and overseas, the business lost its way, but, under the current regime, no wonder the customer experience is so poor. This leadership is not about re-instating a successful, enjoyable, successful British company, it’s all about THEIR pay, bonus, shares. Make no mistake, DL and his like, will be off once targets are met, with a very comfortable cash reward, saying “we saved Tesco”, but at what cost? This is a shocking show of greed, when in reality, they had an opportunity to really make a difference. Yet they will say, no, we had to do it to save the business. No, you just did not try hard enough for decent people, who have given so much to the company – you look shot term for your long term gain.
    This is not just my opinion, it’s also my experience from the inside. Measuring success on purely monetary success is what this current leadership team think is right, they can see no further than their own gain. So many wonderfully and skilled people pushed out for the sake of meeting the ‘city’ expectations, the ‘I’m all right’ attitude. They talk the talk to please public opinion, spinning everything (plastic use for example, how long does it take to stop using plastic mushroom trays!).
    Just another shocking example of so many in company boardrooms, no guts, easy-street execs.
    For all the previous leaderships faults, they knew Tesco success came from its own people.

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    sertomas 7 Jun 2019 at 8:08 pm #

    Hmm how the heck work force is up if most of the stores lost up to half of the workers?
    Our store used to be over 500 ppl few years ago now its below 250.

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    Octavius Maw 17 Jun 2019 at 12:13 pm #

    I just Hope Tesco will come back from this situation soon!

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    M Wells 18 Sep 2019 at 12:48 am #

    The ‘workforce’ number is up because there are more part timers. Does this save the compny on holiday pay, pensions etc?

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    Harris McBone 7 Dec 2019 at 9:38 am #

    It’s this kind of staff-cutting that will drive even more people to online grocery shopping. Once the personal connection is lost, people don’t enjoy the shopping experience in a local store where staff and customers don’t know each other and where that network of friends and neighbours no longer extends to the floor staff and cashiers. Perhaps that doesn’t matter to Head Office, but If Tesco were truly investors in community they would value their loyal staff.

    I hardly ever shop in my local Tesco anymore unless I really need something, and instead rely more on my monthly online shop at another supermarket.

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