Asda plans to centralise its baking, seeks new roles for 1,200 staff

LONDON, April 14 (Reuters) - Britain’s third-largest supermarket group Asda said on Wednesday it plans to centralise its bakery operations which currently employ around 1,200 people, mirroring a similar move by rival Tesco last year.

Asda said it planned to find new job roles for as many as possible of the workers affected by the change and that redundancies would be the last option.

“We know these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this process,” said Derek Lawlor, Asda’s chief merchandising officer.

Tesco said in February 2020 that fewer of its products would be baked in-store, putting 1,816 workers at risk of redundancy.

Tesco cut 4,500 jobs last summer, while No. 2 Sainsbury’s eliminated hundreds of management roles in January.

In February, investors Mohsin and Zuber Issa and private equity company TDR Capital completed their purchase of a majority stake in Asda from U.S. giant Walmart. They were not involved in the bakery decision as their role in the business remains limited, Asda said. (Writing by William Schomberg; editing by Jonathan Oatis)