Tesco announces 4,500 job cuts as it overhauls smaller stores

The supermarket has said staff must work more flexibly and that some stores will see downsizing or reduced hours.

Supermarket chain Tesco is to cut around 4,500 staff in the latest round of redundancies at the UK’s largest supermarket chain.

The majority of the jobs will be cut from 153 mid-size Metro stores, as well as from some smaller Express chain of shops and larger superstores.

Tesco wants to overhaul its Metro stores in particular, saying that shoppers tend to use them for top-up shops rather than buying bigger baskets.

“The Metro format was originally designed for larger, weekly shops, but today nearly 70% of customers use them as convenience stores, buying food for that day,” said the supermarket.

It said 134 Tesco Express stores – out of 1,750 – would see a reduction in opening hours due to lower footfalls.

The supermarket will also be changing the way its stores are stocked, with more products going directly to the shop floor and fewer being held in the back.

Staff will be expected to be more flexible, working across different departments and adding more focus on keeping stock levels high during busy lunchtime rushes.

Tesco is Britain’s biggest private-sector employer with more than 300,000 staff.

The company said there would be a “leaner management structure”, with workers given headsets to communicate more easily.

Jason Tarry, Tesco’s UK and Ireland Chief Executive, said that “in a challenging, evolving retail environment, with increasing cost pressures, we have to continue to review the way we run our stores to ensure we reflect the way our customers are shopping and do so in the most efficient way.

“We do not take any decision which impacts colleagues lightly, but have to make sure we remain relevant for customers and operate a sustainable business now and in the future.”

The company’s shares were down nearly 2% following the announcement.

Coventry has eight Tesco stores, one of which is a Metro store, three Express stores, two Extra stores and two Superstores.

While it’s so far unclear which Tesco stores will be impacted, it’s certainly possible that Coventry could experience downsizing and reduced hours at some of its smaller stores.