Supermarket chain Asda has today confirmed it has begun consulting with employees over a major restructuring of the business which could put about 5,000 jobs at risk, including 3,000 non-store jobs.
The news comes after Asda was purchased by billionaire brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa and private equity firm TDR Capital, in a £6.8bn deal.
The proposed cuts would include in areas such as cash management, where there is less work as more people shop online.
The company said it planned to create 4,500 jobs as it expands its online offering, but the cuts could also affect two online-only stores where orders are picked.
Asda said its sites in Dartford and Heston that are used to pick online orders could close as the company switches to using regular stores to gather goods for online deliveries. This would mean the loss of 800 jobs. It also plans to change about 1,100 store management roles.
Chief executive Roger 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.'
According to the BBC, those close to the business insist that the move is led by a change in demand from shoppers rather than a cost-cutting drive, and point to the 4,500 new jobs being created as order pickers and delivery drivers.