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Tesco announces up to 9,000 job cuts in the UK under wide-scale restructuring plan

Jobs will be cut amid plans to shut fish, meat and cheese counters at some stores.

Image: Nick Ansell/PA Images

Tesco has announced plans to axe up to 9,000 jobs in the United Kingdom as part of the next stage of a vast restructuring programme.

The largest retailer in the UK employs about 300,000 staff out of a total global workforce of 440,000, and said it would try to find new roles for up to half of those affected.

“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,” the supermarket said in a statement.

“In our four years of turnaround we’ve made good progress, but the market is challenging and we need to continually adapt to remain competitive,” said Britain and Ireland CEO Jason Tarry.

A spokeswoman for Tesco Ireland said that the changes only related to the company’s activities in the UK.

“Like any business we are always looking at ways to run our business more simply and efficiently so our colleagues can focus on serving customers,” a spokeswoman told TheJournal.ie.

“Whenever we make changes in our business, colleagues are always the first to know.” 

Self-service kitchens

Tesco said jobs would go as it planned to shut counters at some stores serving items such as fresh fish, meat and cheeses.

The company also intends to simplify the way it controls stocks of goods, as well as reducing head office numbers and shutting staff canteens for self-service kitchen facilities. 

“We expect that around 90 stores will close their counters, with the remaining 700 trading with either a full or flexible counter offer for our customers,” Tesco said in today’s statement.

Tarry added: “We’re making changes to our UK stores and head office to simplify what we do and how we do it, so we’re better able to meet the needs of our customers.”

Tesco’s share price closed down 1.7 percent at 221 pence on London’s FTSE 100 index, which lost 0.9 percent overall.

More than 10,000 jobs have been cut at Tesco since chief executive Dave Lewis took charge in 2014 with the brief to save £1.5 billion (€1.7 billion).

The group rebounded into annual net profit last year on strong sales and restructuring following a net loss of £40 million in 2016/2017, when it was hurt by costs arising from an accounting fiasco.

The company has been dogged in recent years by fierce domestic competition from discounters including Lidl and Aldi, which shoppers flocked to following the global financial crisis.

- © AFP 2019 with reporting from Stephen McDermott

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