Tesco’s new chief executive, Dave Lewis, has named the 43 stores he is closing as the first phase of his campaign to turn the struggling supermarket around. It’s expected at least 2,000 staff will lose their jobs.
Already dubbed “Drastic” Dave Lewis by the media, he confirmed Tesco would shut 43 unprofitable shops and scrap plans for a further 49 as it attempts to make massive savings. Eighteen of the stores closing are Expresses and 12 are Metros. Just seven are superstores, with a further six under the Homeplus format.
Describing the closure decision as “exceptionally difficult”, Lewis said his priority now was to “explain what this announcement means for our colleagues and, wherever possible, offer them alternative roles with Tesco”.
The Express stores closing are at: Bearwood; Belvedere; Church Street, Ballymena; Heaton Chapel; Heybridge, Essex; Houghton Regis; Liverpool Kensington; Longbridge Road, Barking; Northfield, Birmingham; Raymouth Lane, Worksop; Sheffield Manor; South Tottenham High Road; Tredegar; Troon; Walsall Wood; Wealdstone; Whitley Bay and York Road, Hartlepool.
The Metro stores closing are in: Bicester; Bootle; Caerphilly; Crossgates; Devizes; Grangemouth; Mexborough; Morecambe; Ormskirk; Runcorn; Smethwick and Woodseats.
Superstores closing are at: Bedlington; Chatham; Connswater; Cregagh Road; Doncaster; Kirkcaldy and Wrexham Doods Lane.
And the seven Homeplus closures are at: Bristol Cribbs; Chelmsford; Chester; Edinburgh; Southampton and Staines.
The announcement follows two successive years of falling sales and profits for the UK’s largest retailer, and a shock accounting scandal, which saw the chain overstate its profits by some £263m. Lewis — who joined the retail giant from consumer goods firm Unilever just five months ago — has pledged to slash costs and sell assets to fund lower prices and salvage Tesco’s finances.
As part of that strategy the retailer confirmed it would be hiving off certain parts of the business, including music streaming service Blinkbox, which it sold to Australian firm Guevara earlier this week.
“The decision to close the stores has been exceptionally difficult to take and I recognise it will affect many hard working colleagues, our customers and local communities,” added the chief executive.
Commenting immediately after the announcement Pauline Foulkes, from the retail union Usdaw, said the closures were “devastating news” for the 2,000-plus staff involved. “Our priority is to maximise employment within Tesco, seek redeployment opportunities for members, where possible, and to keep job losses to a minimum,” she added.
Tesco’s announcement is in bold contrast to a Waitrose statement earlier this week which outlined the John Lewis partner’s plans to create 2,000 new jobs and by expanding existing sites. It is opening 14 new shops this year, seven of them smaller convenience outlets.
Three members of the UK’s “big four” supermarkets are, however, closing stores or abandoning new builds. Last autumn, Sainsbury’s said it was scrapping plans for new stores, while Morrissons intends to close 10 loss-making stores this year.
Listed Status awarded to 14 Post-War Office Buildings