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Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in a Tesco supermarket in 1997 Fiona Hanson/PA Archive/Press Association Images
fading empire

Tesco is poised to lose its spot as Ireland's top supermarket chain

The company is reportedly going to cut thousands of UK staff under a cost-cutting drive.

TESCO COULD SOON lost its spot as Ireland’s top supermarket chain as it continues to lose ground to its main rivals.

It comes as the company reportedly plans to cut up to 10,000 staff as it shelves new projects, closes unprofitable stores and tries to streamline its supermarket operations.

The vast majority of the cuts are expected to come in Tesco’s UK territory, where it will shut 43 stores and trim its back-office staff – although a move to axe one tier of management in stores has the potential to lead to more widespread job losses.

The UK’s Sunday Telegraph said Tesco boss Dave Lewis planned to cut out mid-level managers in roles between shop assistants and store managers. The Guardian put the potential total job losses at up to 9,000 in total.

The company, which is currently under investigation in its home country for both financial irregularities and squeezing suppliers, last month announced it wanted to cut 30% from its costs to stem the bleeding from weak sales.

It recently cut a net 90 jobs in Ireland when it shifted night staff onto day rosters, while last week it also announced changes to its head office which were expected to cost about 15 more jobs.

However, a Tesco Ireland spokeswoman told TheJournal.ie fears over further, local job losses were “speculative” and the company had already confirmed it was not closing any stores in the Republic.

“We keep the structures of our business under review to ensure that we are investing to provide the best possible service for customers,” she said.

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Losing more ground

Meanwhile, the latest supermarket sales figures from Kantar Worldpanel Ireland showed Tesco continued to lose ground to both its main rivals – SuperValu and Dunnes Stores – and the German discount chains.

Over the 12 weeks to the start of February, the total value of Tesco’s sales was down over 2% – the only major supermarket group to lose ground.

SuperValu is now within striking distance of becoming Ireland’s biggest grocery retailer after increasing its market share when compared to Tesco.

Supermarkets Kantar Worldpanel Ireland Kantar Worldpanel Ireland

That mirrors similar falls in revenue across its global operations over a 19-week period covering Christmas and the holiday season.

READ: Now Tesco is being put under the spotlight for squeezing suppliers >

READ: Do we really live on a ‘treasure island’ for the big supermarket chains? >

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