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Tesco in-store service counters to close or change hours in strategy shift

Tesco has confirmed sweeping changes to its store environments, as it reacts to changing consumer behaviour and growing competition from discounters.

A number of jobs – thought to be around 9,000 posts – could be at risk from the changes, which are part of a long term turnaround project launched by chief executive Dave Lewis. According to Tesco, up to half of those staff could be redeployed to other customer-facing roles.

Some fresh fish counters will close
Some fresh fish counters will close

The supermarket is to close fresh food counters, such as delicatessen, fish counters and butchers, in around 90 stores. The counters in the remaining 700 stores may changes the way they work, with Tesco saying they will offer a “full or flexible offer”. It also says that simplified stock control procedures will reduce workloads, and further decrease the demand for staff, as will cuts at the company’s head office.

No change to bakeries says Tesco
No change to bakeries says Tesco

However, the company has denied reports that it is to change its bakeries and introduce frozen ranges instead of baking them in-store.

“In our four years of turnaround we’ve made good progress, but the market is challenging and we need to continually adapt to remain competitive and respond to how customers want to shop,” says Tesco CEO for the UK and ROI Jason Tarry. “We’re making changes to our UK stores and head office to simplify what we do and how we do it, so we’re better able to meet the needs of our customers. This will impact some of our colleagues and our commitment is to minimise this as much as possible and support our colleagues throughout.”

Tesco is also to reduce the amount of time it spends changing store layouts within its supermarkets, which it acknowledges is frustrating for shoppers. “We’ve been working to reduce the amount of layout changes we make, so it’s easier for customers, and less work for colleagues meaning fewer merchandising hours are need,” says the company.

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