Asda says a shake-up of its main office functions will result in the loss of 300 jobs.
The retailer – one of the so-called big four supermarket chains in the UK – is in the middle of a transformation plan under new chief executive Sean Clarke, aimed at restoring sales which have lagged its major competitors’ performance.
It has made progress – announcing last month its first quarterly growth in almost three years after struggling to contain a stampede of shoppers to discount challengers such as Aldi and Lidl.
Asda said the job losses reflected the need for its office functions to adapt to the demands of shoppers.
Those affected by the cull were asked earlier on Wednesday to leave their posts immediately while the remaining 800 staff at the two locations affected have had their job descriptions changed.
A spokesperson said: “In recent years, the competitive landscape in retail has changed significantly and Asda has been no different.
Image: Lidl is among the biggest challengers to Asda’s price model
“Our stores have adapted the way they operate to meet the changing needs of our customers, and our home offices must also adapt how they operate to support our stores.
“Today we are making some significant changes to the way we operate our home offices. As you’d expect, we have discussed the details of these changes with our colleagues first.
“These changes impact around 1,100 roles across Asda House in Leeds and George House in Leicester, and sadly result in around 300 colleagues leaving us.
“At Asda we value each and every one of our colleagues. The changes are in response to the ever changing sector in which we’re working and the need to adapt to create an agile business which is fit for the future.”
Asda’s decision to shake-up its office functions follows the loss of similar jobs at the rest of the big four.
The likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda have lost market share to their discount rivals.
A resulting price war has become strained in more recent times as chains juggle rising costs from imported goods – a consequence of the Brexit-hit pound.
:: UK produce helps keep lid on inflation
It has meant more costs being passed on to consumers at a time they can least afford them as wage growth lags the pace of inflation.
However, there is strong evidence to suggest some price rises are being absorbed by stores – anxious not to lose customers while a recent industry report suggested a partial recovery in sterling’s value had eased some of the pain.
Mr Clarke is reportedly considering taking further cost out of the business through plans to tackle 18 under-performing stores.