Blakemore retail

Blakemore Retail

Blakemore Retail is planning to dramatically cut its wage budgets for stores, potentially putting hundreds of jobs at risk.

The Grocer understands the Spar retailer, which runs around 260 stores and employs more than 5,000 staff, is currently carrying out a review of how it runs its stores and is looking at ways to tackle rising costs.

A source close to the situation told The Grocer that wage budgets were set to be significantly reduced, which would result in job losses or staff having reductions in their working hours.

The source said that once the review was enacted, “a lot of stores will be running on a duty manager and one or two staff all day”.

The review is expected to be completed within the next couple of weeks. The source said Blakemore had cited “an increase in the national minimum wage, rising fuel prices and the cost of goods” as reasons for reducing budgets.

Blakemore Retail is the company-owned stores division of wholesale giant AF Blakemore & Son. According to its most recent results filed at Companies House, AF Blakemore posted a 3.9% increase in turnover for the year to 30 April 2023. In that period, pre-tax profits reached £5.3m compared with a £3.3m pre-tax loss in the previous financial year.

“This year we are investing in transforming our retail customer experience and in technology to make operating our stores easier for colleagues. An example of this being our newly opened Llandaff store,” said an AF Blakemore & Son spokeswoman.

“Alongside this, as with all businesses of our size, we are constantly reviewing our organisation design to ensure we improve productivity and efficiency, especially when building lease agreements end. Any reviews or changes are always conducted with colleague engagement and consultation, and we strive to place colleagues impacted into other parts of our business.”