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Asda has strongly denied a trial of a four-day week for store managers has been forced on the supermarket by a crisis in staff turnover.

Over the weekend, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Asda had been piloting the move and claimed it came after a report of a 13.9% rise in turnover among retail managers in 2022, which had forced the company to look at new measures for retention.

However, Asda said its trial was part of an increasing trend for retailers to look at more flexible patterns of work. It said its management staff turnover had reduced in 2023 and was not a driving factor.

“Since September 2023, we have been trialling a variety of flexible working patterns for managers in 20 stores, including a four-day working week for the same pay and benefits,” said an Asda spokesman.

“More flexible working patterns have become commonplace in retail leadership in recent years, and we are keen to test and learn different ways of working that benefit our colleagues and business.

“While we are still evaluating the results of this trial, the feedback from participating colleagues has been very positive. Asda has also invested a total of £325m in increasing pay for both store-based and logistics colleagues since 2022. For the record, Asda saw a 6% reduction in colleague turnover between 2022 and 2023.”

As well as documents over staff turnover, The Sunday Telegraph quoted criticism from the GMB and a former store manager who accused the Issa brothers of “running the business into the ground”, with a high number of departures in their store.

The accusations have also been strongly denied by Asda.

An Asda spokesman said: “We have clearly stated that colleague turnover reduced in 2023.”

They added that other retailers such as M&S and Sainsbury’s had adopted flexible working patterns for store leadership colleagues similar to those Asda is currently trialling.

In February, Sainsbury’s offered its management staff the option of working four days a week, in a bid to evolve its current ways of working and increase flexibility.

It said it had been trialling the four-day week for three months, with employees at its head offices in Holborn, Coventry and Milton Keynes, warehouse workers and store managers across its 1,400 stores.