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Asda Puts Approximately 5,000 Staff Into Consultation

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Asda has today announced a programme of change proposals to transform parts of its business in response to the changing demands of the retail sector.

The supermarket has seen a structural shift in customer behaviour towards online grocery during the pandemic, consistently growing ahead of the market, with delivery volumes doubling to reach levels that were expected to take nine years to achieve.

Asda has increased its online capacity by 90% since last March to 850,000 weekly slots and remains on course to fulfil one million orders per week by the end of the year.

To support the increasing number of customers who are choosing to shop online and will continue to do so, the supermarket now intends to expand its ‘in store pick’ model even further – creating 4,500 new roles in store-based online operations across the country.

Asda has also opened a collective consultation on proposals to transform operations in three different parts of its business, creating simpler, more efficient ways of working for colleagues and a better experience for customers, in-line with wider changes across the grocery industry.

These consultation proposals cover the following areas:

  • The proposed closure of the Dartford and Heston home shopping centres, impacting circa 800 colleagues, with future online orders in the South picked from local stores to deliver improved levels of availability, capacity and service. Moving to store picking would create greater capacity and improve slot availability, increasing opportunities for customers to utilise same day delivery, express one-hour collection and Uber Eats delivery.
  • The proposed realignment of some store-level management roles, with deputy store manager and section leader roles replaced by two new roles – Operations Manager and Online Trading Manager, reflecting the significant volume of orders now picked from stores. These proposals impact circa 1,100 colleagues and if enacted would see an overall increase in headcount in store-level management roles across the business.
  • Proposals to simplify ways of working across ‘back office’ store functions with cash office, administration, people and training tasks proposed to be completed by one multi-skilled back office colleague, potentially impacting circa 3,000 colleagues. The proposals include training colleagues so they could complete multiple back office tasks using new technology and processes that are more relevant due to a reduction in cash handling.

The business will now enter formal consultations with around 5,000 colleagues potentially impacted by the proposals out of a total workforce of 145,000. If the proposals are enacted, the priority will be to move as many colleagues as possible into alternative roles within Asda, with redundancy the last option.

Roger Burnley, Asda CEO and President, said: “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.

“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.”

Source : Asda

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25 February 2021

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