UK retailer Asda has unveiled a new business transformation plan that could affect 5,000 jobs.
The transformation plan aims to align the business to the changing demands of the retail sector driven by a shift in consumer preference for online shopping.
The company will enter into formal consultations with those potentially impacted by the new plan.
Asda added that its priority would be to accommodate as many associates as possible into alternative roles within Asda, and redundancy would be the last option.
Asda CEO and president Roger Burnley said, “We know that these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this consultation process.
“Our plans to transform the business will result in more roles being created than those we propose to remove and our absolute aim is to ensure as many colleagues as possible stay with us, as well as creating the opportunity to welcome new people to our business.”
The retailer intends to expand its ‘in-store pick’ model further, creating 4,500 new roles in store-based online operations across the country.
Proposed Transformation Plan
The proposed transformation plan focuses on three different parts of its business to create simpler, more efficient ways of working for employees.
Parallelly, it also aims to provide a better customer experience, reflecting wider changes across the grocery industry.
The proposals include the closure of the Dartford and Heston home shopping centres, which is likely to impact around 800 employees.
In the future, online orders in the South will be picked from local stores to offer improved availability, capacity and service.
Moving to store picking would create greater capacity, improve slot availability, increase opportunities for customers to utilise same-day delivery, express one-hour collection, and Uber Eats delivery, Asda added.
Burnley commented, “The pandemic has accelerated change across the retail sector, especially the shift towards grocery home shopping and our priority is to serve customers in the way they want to shop with us.
“The last 12 months have shown us that businesses have to be prepared to adapt quickly to change and I am incredibly proud of the way we demonstrated our agility and resilience through the pandemic. As customer habits continue to change, we have to evolve our business to meet these demands and ensure our business is strong and sustainable for the long term.”
The retailer also plans to realign some store-level management roles, with deputy store manager and section leader roles replaced by two new functions – operations manager and online trading manager.
The move will impact circa 1,100 people, and if enacted, would see an overall increase in headcount in store-level management roles across the business.
The retailer has also proposed simplifying ‘back office’ operations by placing one multi-skilled back-office personnel for managing cash office, administration, people and training tasks. The move is likely to affect 3,000 jobs.
The retailer has also proposed to train employees to complete multiple back-office tasks using new technology and processes that are more relevant due to a reduction in cash handling.