Hundreds of staff at Asda’s head office in Leeds are facing redundancy as bosses at the UK’s second biggest supermarket slash costs to combat the ongoing price war.
The grocer has axed 1,600 workers from the business in less than two years; the sackings come at a difficult time, as rivals Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco all recorded better than expected Christmas results.
Asda, owned by US giant Wal-Mart, does not reveal its Christmas figures until next month. Sources close to the supermarket insisted the job losses were not related. Instead, the cuts were part of a strategy laid out by the chief executive Andy Clarke three months ago, in which he aims to focus more on core aspects of the business over 18 months.
About 200 staff will go out of Asda’s 3,000 workers at its headquarters; this follows 30 who went in October last year and 210 in March 2014. In stores, 1,360 middle managers lost their jobs in October.
An Asda spokesperson said: “The industry faces major challenges and the certainty of permanent structural change. In the context of this, we also have to further change the way we do business.”
According to Kantar Worldpanel, Asda was the worst performing supermarket on the high street over Christmas, with sales in the 12 weeks to 3 January down 3.5 per cent.