Asda is to cut around 200 jobs as it forges a new five-year plan to tackle increasing competition from rival supermarkets and discounting giants.
Head office staff in Leeds and Leicestershire market town Lutterworth, where its clothing arm George is based, were briefed on the plans yesterday.
The company said 4,000 people work at the two sites.
The moves are part of a package of recommendations put forward by consultancy firm McKinsey, which also includes calls for a widening of product ranges.
An Asda spokeswoman said: “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.”
The company declined to comment on details of the redundancy plan, which will not impact on shop-floor staff.
The news comes as the supermarket giant announced around 400 jobs in Chorley, Lancashire.
Under pressure from upmarket rivals such as Waitrose at one end and discount chains like Aldi on the other, recent figures for the 12 weeks to March 2 show Sainsbury’s was the only one of the Big Four supermarkets not to lose market share over the year, holding steady at 17%.
Tesco fell 0.6% to 28.7%, Asda by 0.3% to 17.5%, and Morrisons dropped 3.2% to 11.1%.
But in contrast with the rest of the Big Four, Asda recently announced plans to step up its store expansion and spend £750m on new sites this year to plug gaps it sees mainly in London and the South East of England.
The expansion drive will seethe UK’s second-largest supermarket, which is owned by US-based retail behemoth Wal-Mart, add 500,000sq ft of new space, compared with 350,000sq ft in 2013.
Its competitors have beenscaling back from the so-called space race as they focus on rolling out smaller convenience stores and bolstering their onlinebusinesses.