Wal-Mart’s Asda banner to cut 200 corporate jobs

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 86 views 

Asda, the British retail banner of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., announced Monday (March 24) plans to reduce around 200 corporate jobs from its Leeds home base and the Lutterworth clothing arm of its George apparel brand.

"In the spirit of openness, we've let our colleagues know that we will be having some more detailed discussions with them this week about a new structure." an Asda spokeswoman told the London media in a Monday (March 24) briefing.

Russell Craig, spokesman with Asda, told The City Wire that the retailer is still talking with its workforce today and tomorrow about these changes and more details will become available later this week.

The job cuts are part of a new five-year plan underway to tackle heightened competition from rival discounters and supermarkets. The moves were reportedly part of a package of recommendations put forward by consultancy firm McKinsey, which also included calls for a widening of product ranges, according to the BBC report.

For the fourth quarter, Walmart International reported net sales in the U.K. increased 1.3% while comparable sales declined 0.2%.

“We are pleased that traffic increased 0.2% offset by a ticket decline of 0.4%. Gross profit rate was flat for the quarter, as sourcing benefits and efficiencies were invested into maintaining a strong price position,” David Cheesewright, CEO of Walmart International, said during the February earnings call.

Cheesewright also recently noted that the macroeconomic climate in the U.K. is slowly improving but consumer sentiment and participation is still muted. He said stable price inflation is outstripping personal earnings and creating a tough retail climate, with all the major retailers posting overall share declines in the fourth quarter. He said Asda remains committed to redefine value retailing in the U.K. investing $1.25 billion in price and quality over the next five years.

“We will bring this value to more customers by improving access and reach across the U.K., focusing on online growth and expanding stores into the faster growing South East and London markets,” Cheesewright recently noted.