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Sainsbury’s Argos depot closures puts 1,400 jobs at risk

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Sainsbury's has put 1,400 jobs on the line with the closures of two Argos depots over the next three year.

The supermarket giant has confirmed warehouses in Basildon, Essex, and and Heywood in Greater Manchester, will both close by 2026.

The cuts will affect both Sainsbury's employees and those who work for Wincanton as part of an outsourced contract.

Read More: Sainsbury’s launches four-day working week trial

Sainsbury's also announced the closure of its Milton Keynes office in response to flexible working across the group but stressed that no jobs would be lost as a result of the decision.

It also announced that its three remaining Habitat showrooms will close later this year as part of its plan to consolidate operations.

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Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: "As with any major change to our business, we have not taken the difficult decision to start this consultation lightly.

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"As part of our plan to create a simpler business, we previously set out our intention to integrate our Argos and Sainsbury’s logistics networks.

"Over the last few years, we’ve been working hard to transform this network as we make our business simpler, more efficient and more effective for customers.

"This also allows us to reduce costs, so we can invest where it will make the most impact for our customers."

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Roberts said: "We understand that this will be an unsettling time for affected colleagues, and we will support them however we can throughout this process."

There are currently five existing Sainsbury's and Argos depots, which will be consolidated into three.

A depot in Daventry will be further automated in a £90 million investment.

No jobs are affected at that centre at this time.

It stated that employees affected by the depot closure decision will be able to "explore alternative roles" within the organisation.

Read More: Sainsbury’s profits fall as it tries to keep prices low

According to the trade union Unite, there is no "economic justification" for the closures.

Unite national officer Matt Draper said: "Management at Argos/Sainsbury’s has yet to provide any form of the business case for the loss of these jobs.

"Unite will be fighting to preserve every job and will put forward an alternative business case to the company to preserve employment at these two sites.

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"This is an incredibly wealthy company that should be investing in its loyal workforce rather than dumping workers in pursuit of short-term profits.

"If Sainsbury’s doesn’t drop its closure plans then Unite will pursue all avenues to preserve employment at these sites."

Sainsbury's stressed the changes, along with the ongoing expansion of its local warehouse network across the UK, would improve availability, reduce stock, and allow for faster customer deliveries.

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A statement said: "The new three-site general merchandise network will improve productivity and the working environment, as well as increase resilience and flexibility for the future," it said.

The retailer stated that the closure of its Milton Keynes office was due to an increase in remote working across the company, with only 11 percent of available desk space being used on a regular basis by staff on the site.

It intends to give employees in Milton Keynes the option of switching to a different office, in addition to remote working.

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The job cuts are part of a larger purge in the supermarket sector, with Tesco and Asda both recently announcing plans to cut positions as they slash costs in the face of stiff competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl, as well as rising inflation and consumer spending cuts.

According to a recent study by the Centre for Retail Research, UK retailers have cut nearly 15,000 jobs since the beginning of 2023.

Source:  Business Live

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