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Wilko puts 3,900 staff at risk of redundancy

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 11/08/2017 By Ashley Armstrong, Retail Editor
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Wilko is consulting with 3,900 employees about a shake-up of shop staffing roles, the latest retailer over the past week to axe jobs amid rising costs and a tough trading environment.

The value retailer said that it was stripping out a level of supervision roles across its stores in the UK but would create 1,000 new senior roles as part of the changes and a significant amount of customer service roles. 

Related: Asda likely to cut swathes of jobs

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Anthony Houghton, Wilko retail director, said that the move was necessary to ensure "all retail operations are fit for the future". Mr Houghton added that despite growing customer numbers and efforts to reduce costs, the challenging landscape meant that it was dragging profits lower.

Wilko's consultation with staff will run until October and will affect "thousands" of store staff, according to Retail Week, which first reported the staffing change. 

Wilko's most recent accounts reveal that its pre-tax profits crashed by 80pc in the year to January 28, after a £12.9m hit from a jump in costs associated with the sterling slump following the EU Referendum. Wilko also criticised the introduction of the National Living Wage, which it said "was well above expected levels" and had hurt discount retailers.

Mr Houghton said that the changes to staffing were the "legacy of retail structures that created complexity to manage which aren’t simple, fair or transparent for our team members. The simpler, newly defined store structure will give teams greater variety within their roles and result in more team hours on the shop floor, delivering a better customer experience".

Wilko follows Asda earlier this week in announcing that hundreds of jobs could be at risk as the supermarket plans to make changes to 18 underperforming stores .

Sainsbury's is also taking the axe to more than 1,000 jobs  at its head office as part of a giant £500m cost-cutting drive, as revealed by the Sunday Telegraph.

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