Asda has launched consultations with around 5,000 workers over a major restructuring which could put around 3,000 jobs at risk.
The supermarket giant said the restructuring has been driven by the “structural shift” towards online grocery shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.
The grocery firm said it also plans to create around 4,500 separate jobs in its online operations this year, and will look to re-hire some of the staff impacted by the potential cuts.
Nevertheless, Asda said the consultations will impact about 3,000 back-office store workers – particularly affecting staff with cash and administrative roles amid the continued slump in cash transactions.
The firm said it plans to close its Dartford and Heston home shopping centres, with around 800 jobs affected, as it looks to shift more picking operations into stores.
It added that around 1,100 of its store management roles will be changed to support online grocery operations as more picking by staff takes place in stores.
However, the company said this could increase the total headcount in these roles by around 60, as part of the restructuring.
Roger Burnley, Asda chief executive and president, said: “The pandemic has accelerated change across the retail sector, especially the shift towards grocery home shopping, and our priority is to serve customers in the way they want to shop with us.
“The last 12 months have shown us that businesses have to be prepared to adapt quickly to change and I am incredibly proud of the way we demonstrated our agility and resilience through the pandemic.”
Mr Burnley added: “We know that these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this consultation process.
“Our plans to transform the business will result in more roles being created than those we propose to remove and our absolute aim is to ensure as many colleagues as possible stay with us, as well as creating the opportunity to welcome new people to our business.”
It comes after the billionaire Issa brothers and private equity backer TDR Capital agreed a £6.8bn deal for the supermarket chain.
Zuber and Mohsin Issa, who made their fortunes running petrol stations, confirmed the completion of the deal earlier this month.
The takeover is still awaiting approval from competition regulators, expected by this summer, so the new owners are yet to take control of Asda’s operations.