Business

Tesco to cut 1,800 jobs in bakeries overhaul

Tesco is to slash more than 1,800 jobs as part of changes to bakeries in its large supermarkets

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco is to slash more than 1,800 jobs as part of changes to bakeries in its large supermarkets.

The retailer said 1,816 bakery staff are at risk of redundancy as part of the overhaul, which will take place from May.

Tesco said it will convert 58 of its bakeries to be able to finish off pre-baked products in-store, and 201 sites will only bake some of its most popular items from scratch.

It said the move, which will also see bakeries at another 257 sites remain unchanged, means it will need fewer staff members.

There is no immediate indication of how it will impact on the business in Northern Ireland, where the company operates bakeries at a number of its larger outlets.

Tesco blamed the move on a "big shift in customer tastes", with fewer people buying traditional loaves and instead purchasing wraps, bagels and flatbreads.

Jason Tarry, Tesco's UK and Ireland chief executive, said: "We need to adapt to changing customer demand and tastes for bakery products so that we continue to offer customers a market-leading bakery range in store.

"We know this will be very difficult for colleagues who are impacted, and our priority is to support them through this process. We hope that many will choose to stay with us in alternative roles."

Tesco said it will look to find other jobs for the staff, with "thousands of store vacancies" expected to be available across its network between now and May.

The announcement is the latest jobs cull by the supermarket, coming just seven months after it axed around 4,500 roles, mainly in its Metro stores.

In January last year, Tesco said 9,000 staff were at risk due to a shake-up of its store offerings, which saw the closure of some deli counters while reducing the amount of time others were open.

Pauline Foulkes, national officer at the Usdaw union, said: "This is devastating and upsetting news for our members who work in the bakery operations.

"Usdaw will be entering into collective consultation with Tesco to consider the business case for these planned changes over the coming weeks.

Earlier on Tuesday, Tesco announced the sale of its stake in its joint venture in China for £275 million as the company continues to simplify its operations and boost its balance sheet.

It struggled struggled to crack the Chinese market, ultimately combining its 131 stores in the country with partner CRH's almost 3,000 sites in 2014.

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