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Source: Sainsbury’s

Simon Roberts had warned cuts were on the horizon, as part of his cost-cutting plan

Sainsbury’s is to cut up to 1,500 roles from across its business, as part of its ’Save and Invest to Win’ plan.

The redundancies are the first since CEO Simon Roberts unveiled his new strategy for the supermarket earlier this month. They will be focused on Sainsbury’s head office, customer service, in-store bakeries, and general merchandise supply chain. The aim of the “difficult but necessary” decision is to “simplify” its business and improve availability in stores, Roberts said. 

At its HQ – which the retailer calls its Store Support Centre – Sainsbury’s is to restructure teams by removing a layer of management from its retail, transformation, HR, supply and logistics teams.

Alongside that, Sainsbury’s is to transfer the running of its Widnes contact centre, which is responsible for its Careline customer service line, to an existing third party. The plan is for the “vast majority” of workers to transfer to the new company.

In stores, Sainsbury’s said it had begun a modernisation programme of its in-store bakeries, with a focus on improving the mix and availability of products throughout the day. The business is currently consulting with an unspecified number of bakers in stores, who will be offered alternative roles if possible.

The final area of focus will see Sainsbury’s continue with the “consolidation” of its general merchandise and Argos supply chain, which started in April 2023. It will see the retailer further invest in technology and automation. As a result, an unspecified number of its local fulfilment centres will close, which it said would affect a “very small proportion” of workers.

Sainsbury’s was currently consulting with all affected staff, the retailer said.

Roberts had previously indicated that redundancies were on the horizon – by declining to rule them out – at the unveiling of its Next Level strategy at the beginning of February. The business wants shave a further £1bn from its operations over the next three years - on top of £1.3 billion it’s already saved - which would come through greater investment in areas like technology and AI forecasting.

All of the savings would be invested back into the business, primarily into Sainsbury’s food and groceries, it said.

“Our Next Level Sainsbury’s strategy is about giving customers more of what they come to Sainsbury’s for – outstanding value, unbeatable quality food and great service,” said Roberts. “One of the ways we’re going to deliver on this promise is through our Save and Invest to Win programme.

“As we move into the next phase of our strategy, we are making some difficult, but necessary decisions. The proposals we’ve been talking to teams about today are important to ensure we’re better set up to focus on the things that create a real impact for our customers, delivering good food for all of us and building a platform for growth. I know today’s news is unsettling for affected colleagues and we will do everything we can do support them.”