Sainsbury’s to axe thousands of store management roles

Sainsbury’s is stripping out management jobs from its stores in a cost-cutting drive that puts thousands of jobs at risk.

Staff were told that the UK’s second-biggest food retailer plans to axe the roles of deputy manager, department manager, team leader and store supervisor. It is replacing deputies with a smaller number of operations managers. The other, more junior management roles, are being lumped together under the new title of customer and trading manager.

Sainsbury’s said overall headcount would not be altered by the exercise. However, many of the staff affected are expected to opt for redundancy rather than accept a lower-paid job. For team leaders and store supervisors there is the potential to move from being paid by the hour to a salaried role.

Sainsbury’s retail and operations director, Simon Roberts, said: “We’re proposing a store management structure that will deliver best in class leadership and in many cases will offer an improved reward package for new management roles.

“The proposals will introduce a more efficient and effective structure. They will deliver cost savings to be invested in our customer offer and in our colleagues as they continue to provide the very best service for our customers.”

Sainsbury’s warned of a challenging market after a tough Christmas for its Argos chain.

The big supermarket chains are trying to make savings as profits are squeezed by rising business costs and and intensifying competition from Aldi and Lidl.

Tesco announced on Monday it is stripping out a layer of management from stores putting up to 1,700 jobs at risk, in a bid to cut costs by £1.5bn.

The Guardian revealed last month that more than 800 senior Asda shopfloor workers were facing a pay cut or redundancy after the chain embarked on another cost-cutting drive.

In October, Sainsbury announced 2,000 store and back-office roles would go in a shake-up of its HR departments. That followed a head office cull in the summer, which eliminated 1,000 jobs.