Asda has started piloting a new store management structure in two shops that strips out its middle management, reduces internal bureaucracy and cuts costs.

Asda has this week begun a trial of the store management structure in two shops – one in west Yorkshire and another in Hull – which removes the department manager or leader position, Retail Week can reveal.

The grocer’s retail director, Mark Ibbotson, told Retail Week: “We are piloting a new management structure in two stores replacing one level with another. We never stop looking at new structures and all the big four grocers have done something similar over the years. You never stop looking at cutting costs to serve customers better.

“It gives us the opportunity to put in more station managers and leaders. The role of the department manager has changed considerably. They used to be involved in things like scheduling and inventory but aren’t any more and our store managers are saying it’s time we had another look.”

He added: “We have had a look at the balance between middle managers and junior managers and shifted towards junior managers.”

Ibbotson said there were no plans to make redundancies as part of the process but “could not promise” there would not be job losses. He is credited with spearheading the retailer’s internal We Operate for Less cost-cutting strategy.

The trial comes as Morrisons begins a similar process through a pilot of a new store staff structure.

Morrisons said the “leaner” structure, to be introduced to five new-build stores before Christmas, will have “more Indians, less chiefs” as they feature more customer-facing employees.