Wilko could axe “thousands” of shopfloor staff as the retailer reshuffles its store teams in a cost-cutting drive, Retail Week can reveal.

The value retailer is stripping out a level of supervision roles within its stores across the UK.

Wilko has placed 3,900 employees into consultation including those in stock supervisor, till supervisor and some assistant manager positions.

The retailer said it will create 1,000 new senior supervisor roles as part of the changes, and a spokesman for the retailer said it would also add ”a significant amount of customer service roles” to its operation.

According to a source close to the situation, Wilko is consolidating the affected positions into a team supervisor role, which will significantly reduce the number of supervision roles per store.

The source added that the consultation, which will run until October, would affect “thousands” of store staff. 

Documents circulated to Wilko staff by its executive team and seen by Retail Week say the consultation will put “a significant number of these roles at risk and will result in a number of changes and inevitably, some redundancies for retail team members”.

Wilko told Retail Week the changes were designed to create a “simpler” store staffing structure and insisted it would result in “more team hours on the shopfloor”.

It added that it is working with trade union GMB to redeploy staff “wherever possible”.

The retailer, which posted an 80% slump in full-year profits last month, had drafted in consultancies Re-Think and Total Rewards to identify areas of the business that were operating inefficiently.

‘Challenging retail landscape’

The move comes just days after it emerged that Sainsbury’s is poised to cut 1,000 central office roles after instructing McKinsey to devise a staff reduction plan.

And the grocer’s big four rival Asda revealed yesterday that it has begun consultation with 3,257 store staff in 18 underperforming stores.

The Walmart-owned business expects the process to result in “hundreds” of job losses.

Wilko retail director Anthony Houghton said: “Despite the challenging retail landscape Wilko has seen both positive customer numbers and like-for-like sales growth this year.

“This is not translating into positive results despite all the hard work to reduce costs, grow own-brand and digital sales.

“Following independent studies we identified a legacy of retail structures that created complexity to manage which aren’t simple, fair or transparent for our team members.”

Houghton added: “The simpler newly defined store structure will give teams greater variety within their roles and result in more team hours on the shop floor, delivering a better customer experience.

“As a family run business, we care greatly about team members and know that change is never easy.

“We are working with our recognised trade union the GMB, listening to team members and offering support at all levels.

“We are entering into a long period of consultation and wherever possible are aiming to redeploy team members into new roles and offering help and support to those seeking new opportunities.”