Sainsbury's plans to close two Argos depots in move that will impact 1,400 jobs

28 February 2023, 15:43

It comes after Sainsbury's announced it was closing up to 50 high street branches this year
It comes after Sainsbury's announced it was closing up to 50 high street branches this year. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Sainsbury's has announced it is planning to close two Argos depots in the next three years in a move that is expected to affect more than 1,400 jobs.

The supermarket giant confirmed one warehouse will shut in Basildon, Essex, while another will shut in Heywood, Greater Manchester, by 2026.

Some 1,400 jobs will be impacted by the closures, which currently serve Argos stores inside Sainsbury's.

Sainsbury's also confirmed it plans to close its Milton Keynes office in response to flexible working across the group, but said no jobs would be impacted by the decision.

Two Sainsbury's/Argos depots are to close by 2026, the supermarket has announced
Two Sainsbury's/Argos depots are to close by 2026, the supermarket has announced. Picture: Getty

Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury's, said: "As with any major change to our business, we have not taken the difficult decision to start this consultation lightly.

"As part of our plan to create a simpler business, we previously set out our intention to integrate our Argos and Sainsbury's logistics networks.

"Over the last few years, we've been working hard to transform this network as we make our business simpler, more efficient and more effective for customers.

"This also allows us to reduce costs, so we can invest where it will make the most impact for our customers."

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He added: "We understand that this will be an unsettling time for affected colleagues, and we will support them however we can throughout this process."

While the two deports will close, Sainsbury's added that it would consolidate its five existing depots into three, with its Daventry site being handed a £90 million investment.

Trade union Unite said that there was no "economic justification" for the closures.

Sainsbury's said affected employees will have the chance to apply to other roles
Sainsbury's said affected employees will have the chance to apply to other roles. Picture: Getty

Unite national officer Matt Draper said: "Management at Argos/Sainsbury's has yet to provide any form of business case for the loss of these jobs.

"Unite will be fighting to preserve every job and will put forward an alternative business case to the company to preserve employment at these two sites.

"This is an incredibly wealthy company which should be investing in its loyal workforce rather than dumping workers in pursuit of short-term profits.

"If Sainsbury's doesn't drop its closure plans then Unite will pursue all avenues to preserve employment at these sites."

But Sainsbury's insisted the changes, together with the ongoing expansion of its local warehouse network across the UK, would improve availability, reduce stock and allow faster customer deliveries.

"The new three-site general merchandise network will improve productivity and the working environment, as well as increasing resilience and flexibility for the future," it said.

Sainsbury's also announced its three remaining Habitat showrooms will close later this year as it plans to launch a replacement digital showroom, which will see a small number of Habitat workers affected.

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