Tesco has begun consultations with hundreds of directors across its Cheshunt and Welwyn Garden City offices in order to slash headcount.

The retailer has started informing senior staff of changes to the structure of its head office functions. At present it employs in the region of 8,000 people in the offices, Sky News reported.

Talks will continue today and tomorrow. Those to be affected include senior employees at commercial and category director levels.

Earlier this month Retail Week exclusively reported that Tesco had contacted about a third of UK managers at work level 5, who typically report to executive committee members, flagging that they face redundancy or in some cases will be asked to take on changed responsibilities at a lower work level.

There are about 120 work level 5 staff at Tesco’s flagship UK business. They typically hold wide-ranging responsibilities affecting the entire business and are empowered to take far-reaching decisions.

Sources told Retail Week that Steve Strachota, UK operations and development director, has left and will be replaced by Andrew Woolfenden.

Retail director Richard Baker and managing director for Metro Neil McCourt have also left the business, the source said. Tesco refused to confirm the redundancies.

Yesterday the retailer said that more than 2,000 staff will face the axe as it revealed the locations of the 43 stores that will close in an attempt to cut costs. It said 18 Express, 12 Metro, seven superstores and six Homeplus stores are shutting their doors.

Tesco, the UK’s biggest private sector employer with approximately 300,000 staff, aims to slash head office costs by a third as it seeks to save £250m a year in running costs. “This is a significant restructuring of a significant-sized business,” Tesco boss Dave Lewis said.

The redundancies come as Tesco prepares to abandon its Cheshunt headquarters and consolidate central functions in Welwyn Garden City, representing a symbolic break with its past as Lewis seeks to rebuild consumer appeal and move on from an accounting scandal.


Tesco swings the axe on stores and jobs amid fears of more to come