Asda has confirmed details of its in-store restructure

Asda has halved the number of redundancies from its in-store management restructure upon completion of its 45-day consultation this week.

When the Walmart-owned chain first revealed plans for the shake-up, affecting 4,100 staff, in May, the proposed number of in-store redundancies was 2,600 as it looked to create 1,500 new section manager roles and 3,500 lower paid section leader positions.

But at the end of a 45-day consultation on Thursday, the figure was reduced to 1,360.

Asda said that during the consultation all affected staff had at least three individual discussions about the proposal and the roles potentially available to them, while members of the executive visited stores to meet affected colleagues. A group of affected managers were also seconded from their day jobs to feed back the views of colleagues on the shop floor. Asda said this feedback was instrumental in creating the criteria used to assess both suitability for positions in the new structure and in convincing it of the need for 670 extra roles.

The final decision will see 5,670 new roles made up of 1,662 section managers who will remain on the same level as before and 4,008 section leader posts. Those accepting the section leader roles will, in effect, be agreeing to a demotion. Asda estimated 1,360 potential redundancies “as people chose to leave or did not meet the selection criteria”.

“As much as it is my job, and privilege, to be CEO of this business and to do what is right for Asda as a whole, this is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make. While I genuinely believe it is the right decision for the future of Asda, knowing that it will result in valued colleagues leaving us is not easy,” said Asda CEO Andy Clarke.

“Every supermarket must adapt to the intense changes in UK retailing or they will get left behind. We spotted this nearly two years ago, responding with a new strategy and taking time to thoroughly examine our structures, test scenarios, talk to our colleagues and adjust our proposals accordingly. This thorough process has helped us to reach this difficult decision today.”

Managers affected by the changes will either begin training for their new jobs or take a redundancy package over the coming weeks.

A simpler structure: what will Morrisons do?

While Asda managers affected by the retailer’s in-store restructure learned their fates this week, the outcome of a similar process at Morrisons is still to be revealed.

Morrisons announced on 17 June that 2,600 staff faced redundancy as it looked to move to a “simpler management structure”. The new structure will bring together department managers and supervisor positions into a single smaller tier of team managers. From this group, Morrisons said it would “promote 1,000 into new duty manager roles to strengthen the senior management team in each store”.

Like Asda, Morrisons has been holding a series of meetings with affected staff. The Grocer understands one proposal under consideration is that 100 stores would be switched over to the new structure before Christmas, with another 100 after that. It is thought Morrisons does not want to disrupt Christmas trading.

A Morrisons spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment on possible timings as the consultation was still ongoing.