Around 4,500 employees at Tesco are set to lose their jobs in the latest round of redundancies at the UK’s biggest supermarket.
The majority of workers will go from Tesco’s Metro stores, with other positions shut down at some Express and larger stores, the company said earlier.
The supermarket chain said it was responding to changes in customers’ habits, including a shift towards using the larger Metro stores for convenience shopping rather than large weekly food shops, adding that shoppers tend to use them as top-up shops rather than buying bigger baskets.
The company's officials said in a statement: “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.”
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, among other tasks.
In an official statement on its website, Tesco mentioned the job cuts were part of an effort to “simplify and reduce processes and administrative tasks” across all of its Metro stores.
The cuts will affect management jobs too, as well as shop floor staff, since the company is willing to create a "leaner management structure". In addition, workers will be given headsets to communicate more easily throughout the stores.
Tesco will also reduce opening hours in 134 of 1,750 smaller neighbourhood Express stores due to lower footfall.
Tesco UK and Ireland chief executive, Jason Tarry, said: “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.”
Earlier this year, the retailer, which operates more than 3,400 stores and has over 300,000 UK employees, revealed it would be cutting 9,000 jobs, as it slimmed back its store offerings, shutting deli counters in some outlets and reducing the amount of time they are open in others.
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw), which represents more than 160,000 Tesco employees, said it is calling for government action to address the crisis in retail.
Usdaw National Officer, Pauline Foulkes, stated: “Our members at Tesco are shocked and dismayed by yet another round of potential job losses, coming just months after 9,000 staff were put at risk in stores.
“We will be working hard to make sure that any members potentially affected by these proposals are supported at this difficult time and throughout the consultation period.