Asda is cutting about 200 jobs at its head office in Leeds after the supermarket endured a tough Christmas trading season.
The Walmart-owned business began talking to staff on Monday morning about the job cuts, which it is understood will come from trimming departments across the board.
Asda employs about 1,750 people at its head office and the latest cutbacks come after the group cut 1,360 middle management jobs in stores in 2014. The group is planning to reduce costs by £1bn over the next five years.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have also axed jobs as the big four grocery retailers battle to compete against discounters Aldi and Lidl.
Asda has yet to reveal how it performed over Christmas, but data for industry analysis firm Kantar Worldpanel released last week suggested sales slumped 3.5% in the 12 weeks to 3 January, reducing Asda’s share of the grocery market by 0.6 percentage points to 16.2%.
An Asda spokesperson said: “It’s well documented that in recent years, customers have radically changed the way they shop. We were the first of the big four to recognise this and launch a new strategy in 2013, yet the external pressures have accelerated at an increasingly rapid rate over the last 18 months.
“As a result, the industry faces major challenges and the certainty of permanent structural change. In the context of this, we also have to further change the way we do business.
“Today, we have started to talk to our colleagues in head office functions about what this means for them. We have made some difficult but necessary decisions but we must discuss these with our colleagues before we talk publicly.”
This article was written by Sarah Butler, for theguardian.com on Monday 18th January 2016 11.58 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010