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George roles at risk as 4,100 Asda jobs put into consultation

Supermarket Asda has put 4,100 roles into consultation, including a number working for clothing brand George, as it seeks to make £1bn “efficiency savings” over the next five years.

Roles at risk of redundancy include some 4,100 department manager roles, as the supermarket creates new deputy manager, trading manager and section manager positions with the aim of putting more people “on the shop floor”. Asda said it has sought to create new roles, with a net total of around 900 new positions by the end of the process.

Asda, which on 15 May announced like-for-like sales growth of 0.1% for the 15 weeks to April 20, was unable to say how many of the roles affected came from the clothing division. However, a spokesman confirmed the move would result in there being just one section manager for both George and non-food – currently many of its stores have two.

Newly appointed chief operations officer Mark Ibbotson said the new structure would modernise Asda and “free up time for growth areas” including ecommerce and home shopping.

“While people will always be at the heart of our business, the jobs we were asking our colleagues to do five years ago – when we just operated shops and had a small home-shopping business – are not the jobs they are actually doing today, and not the jobs we need to empower them to do over the next five years if we are to continue to grow and deliver our strategy for growth,” he said.

Other cost savings include £7m in waste, £26m investment in energy efficient lighting in stores and multimillion savings through “tweaks” to supply chain management.

Chief executive Andy Clarke added: “More and more retailers are waking up to the idea that the market has changed and they need to change with it. I am proud that our business identified these changes early and is now well on the way to delivering a strategy that will see us grow.”

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