Tesco is to close more than 100 in-store bakeries, after revealing it is to open a new centralised kitchen in Surrey producing fresh bread and artisan bakery products for its expanding Euphorium project.
Staff were informed of the move this week and it has sparked anger among some who claim the move is down to cost-cutting.
However, Tesco has said up to 450 jobs will be created at the new site, and 1,000 jobs in total, taking into account jobs in its growing network of Euphorium concessions.
Current bakery staff at the stores in South-West London, Surrey and Berkshire which are affected will be given options to relocate.
“We already offer Euphorium bakery products in several of our stores in and around London and feedback from customers has been really positive,” said a Tesco spokeswoman. “ As part of our programme of creating compelling and enjoyable retail destinations for our customers, we’re going to be introducing the Euphorium range of artisan breads and cakes to more of our stores in the coming months. This programme is creating 1,000 roles, which includes opportunities for our 600 current bakery colleagues to work in the new concessions in stores or at Weybridge.”
However, there was an angry response among staff on the Very Little Helps online forum.
“Our bakery team were given the news today,” posted one Tesco employee. “The Euphorium roll out is being accelerated across the company with the changeover happening in over 100 stores across all formats, they’ve been given 12 weeks and the following options”.
Another added there had been a “major backlash” at the news.
“Shrinking profit margins in the in store bakeries has “forced” the company’s hand into pushing the switch through earlier than planned, massive money savings by getting rid of skilled workers and I look forward to their attempts to market this as anything other than a callous cost cutting exercise ,” said a third.