Future uncertain for senior format role at Sainsbury's

Sainsbury's director of formats Ian Jones is to leave the supermarket business following restructuring, according to a source.

His departure could be the start of head office job cuts as Sainsbury's managing director Stuart Mitchell reviews the structure at the Holborn HQ.

It is understood the grocer has decided that the director of formats role on the supermarkets board should be made redundant.

Much of the responsibility for formats will now lie with Diana Hunter, who was behind the Bluebird store on London's King's Road and the high-tech showcase store in Hazel Grove, Manchester.

Hunter was promoted from her role as senior manager for future stores to senior management for format development. It is understood that with Jones' departure, Hunter will report directly to Mitchell. Sainsbury's was unavailable to comment on the restructuring.

Sainsbury's chief executive Sir Peter Davis' turnaround of the business has been stuttering lately, with sales momentum tailing off.

Latest figures from Taylor Nelson Sofres show the grocer's market share is down 1.2 percentage points to 16.8 per cent, for the 12 weeks to April 27 compared with last year.

Charles Stanley analyst Simon Proctor said: 'Sainsbury's has invested heavily in refurbishments and store formats, but there has been poverty in the returns. It has struggled to establish a sufficiently attractive proposition compared with the other supermarkets.'

Sainsbury's is to report its preliminary results next Wednesday, with analysts forecasting between£677 and£690 million profit before tax.