Sainsbury's cuts 3,500 jobs, closing supermarket counter service and Argos outlets

5 November 2020, 06:56 | Updated: 5 November 2020, 11:10

Sainsbury's is cutting more than 3,000 jobs
Sainsbury's is cutting more than 3,000 jobs. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Sainsbury's and Argos will cut almost 3,500 jobs as England enters its second national lockdown.

The news comes on the eve of the supermarket giant releasing its half-year results on Thursday.

Sainsbury's said jobs will be cut through the closure of all of its meat, fish and deli counters and across Argos stores.

It also said roles will go as part of plans to imminently close 120 Argos stores, which is part of a strategy to shut 420 standalone Argos branches over the next three-and-a-half years.

Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury's, said: "We are talking to colleagues today about where the changes we are announcing in Argos standalone stores and food counters impact their roles.

"We will work really hard to find alternative roles for as many of these colleagues as possible and expect to be able to offer alternative roles for the majority of impacted colleagues.

"Right here and now, I and all the team are focused on supporting and delivering for our customers in the days and weeks ahead."

In April, Sainsbury's had warned over a coronavirus hit to profits of more than £500 million despite surging grocery sales.

The supermarket giant said at the time that the impact of Covid-19 was expected to leave underlying profits broadly flat for the year to March 2021 as it faced soaring costs for measures to protect staff and customers, as well as falls in non-food and fuel sales.

The group also added that the profits impact could be greater if lockdown was extended further and if there was a longer-term hit to the wider economy than expected.

Read more: John Lewis cuts 1,500 head office jobs

The reported Sainsbury's job losses come as more than 2,500 jobs are set to go after the John Lewis Partnership and Lloyds Banking Group both announced major cuts.

The John Lewis Partnership told staff on Wednesday that it plans to cut 1,500 head office roles as part of cost-cutting at the retailer.

Meanwhile, banking giant Lloyds has said it will cut 1,070 roles, predominantly in its group transformation and retail banking departments, in its second redundancy announcement in two months.

The cuts contribute to the more than 200,000 potential job losses announced across sectors including banking, hospitality, travel and retail since the start of Covid-19 pandemic in March.