Tesco culls senior staff in shake-up at bigger stores

Tesco triggers major overhaul of way its stores will be run in future – with over 2,000 managerial jobs being reviewed

Britain’s biggest supermarket Tesco has triggered a major overhaul of the way its stores will be run in future – putting more than 2,000 managerial jobs under review. 

The shake-up will result in a slimmed-down management structure with fewer senior jobs across its biggest Extra and Superstore outlets. Some managers will be expected to take on wider responsibility for the same pay. 

Staff affected by the changes told The Mail on Sunday that the efforts were part of attempts to rebalance the business following a structural shift to online delivery and an admission that the surge in demand seen last year will not continue. 

Cuts: The shake-up will result in a slimmed-down management structure with fewer senior jobs across its biggest Extra and Superstore outlets

But other sources said it was the latest confirmation of long-term efforts to cut management layers as more efficient processes, digital systems and AI technology reduce the need for decision-makers in shops. Staff have been in individual discussions with Tesco bosses to examine options. Several departmental roles will be scrapped altogether and managers will instead be given broader responsibilities. 

A company spokesman last night dismissed suggestions that any staff would be worse off. Tesco insisted that the reduction in roles would come from ‘attrition’ as employees leave over time. 

Tesco in understood to have described the review as a ‘soft’ consultation – implying that no one will be forced to leave. 

A spokesman said: ‘The way our customers shop with us is changing and so is the way we need to manage our stores.’ 

But one industry source said: ‘Over time, this is designed to reduce the number of managers and the wage bill will come down.’ Clive Black at broker Shore Capital said: ‘This is an ongoing process in supermarkets that will see head office and regional workers removed and replaced by digitisation and artificial intelligence. All that inevitably means you need far fewer people over time – and less expensive people.’ 

Tesco has almost 3,500 shops in Britain. The review has focused on its 800 Extra and Superstores. Thousands of smaller Express and One Stop shops are not affected. 

The overhaul is one of the first visible signs of the impact of new chief executive Ken Murphy who arrived from Boots and will present his maiden full-year results to City investors on April 14. He said in January the company has ‘strong momentum in the business’. There is an estimated £162billion in potential spending stored up as extra savings since last March, which could boost big grocers.

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