Tesco puts 1,800 jobs at risk as it scales down in-store bakeries

More than 1,800 jobs are at risk at Tesco, after the retailer said it would cut staff at its large in-store bakeries to adapt to changing consumer tastes.

The supermarket chain said it would do less baking from scratch in stores from May onwards, and would require fewer bakery staff as a result.

Tesco said customers are buying fewer traditional loaves of bread, and are increasingly buying different options such as wraps, bagels and flatbreads.

Jason Tarry, the chief executive of Tesco’s UK and Irish business, said: “We need to adapt to changing customer demand and tastes for bakery products so that we continue to offer customers a market-leading bakery range in store.”

Britain’s largest retailer, which employs more than 300,000 people in the UK and has more than 3,400 stores, said it hopes to offer alternative roles to the 1,816 bakery staff affected.

Tesco will continue to offer products baked from scratch in 257 of its stores, but in others the items will be delivered pre-prepared, but baked and finished in store.

The shake-up of in-store bakeries comes a year after Tesco said it would close fresh food counters in about 90 of its stores and cut head office roles, putting at risk up to 9,000 jobs.. It said the decision was also due to time-poor shoppers using fish, meat and other fresh food counters less often. At the time the chain said it did not plan any significant changes to its in-store bakeries during 2019.

Tesco’s outgoing chief executive, Dave Lewis, has spent his five years in charge slashing costs and cutting jobs at the supermarket giant, trying to rebuild its profits following an accounting scandal in 2014.

The chain has a 27% share of the UK grocery market but is facing growing competition from the German discounters Aldi and Lidl.

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