Asda was in somewhat self-deprecating mood today as it unveiled details of a new contract offer being made to its shop floor staff.

The embattled grocer is increasing basic pay to £8.50 per hour and moving to a more “flexible” way of working, which will allow employees to move more freely across the store depending on customer demand.

Upmarket grocer Waitrose revealed last month that it was moving to a “flexible working model” within its stores, so in that sense, Asda was right in admitting it is behind the curve.

But it has set a new benchmark today by offering its staff the option of whether or not to move onto the new contracts.

As far as I’m aware, that’s something other retailers have failed to do, certainly in recent times – and has led to widespread backlashes for the likes of M&S and B&Q, as staff complained that a compulsory switch to new pay deals actually left them worse off.

Asda may be playing catch up with its grocery competitors in terms of sales, but its retail rivals could take a leaf out of the Walmart-owned supermarket’s book when it comes to ensuring the happiness of its people.

Elsewhere today, we reveal the top 30 retailers by productivity and report on landlords’ bullish reaction to Blue Inc’s bid for a second CVA.

Quote of the day

“We’ve known for a long while that we were behind the curve in our ways of working and that the various different contract types in operation in our stores were restrictive to ensuring our stores could have the right colleagues, in the right place, at the right time to serve our customers.” – Hayley Tatum, Asda’s senior vice president of people. 

Today in numbers


The sales per-employee recorded by etailer Asos during its 2015/16 financial year, according to data compiled by Retail Week Prospect analysts


The amount embattled fashion chain Blue Inc owes Barclays Bank.

Tomorrow’s agenda

Another struggling fashion retailer French Connection reveals its full year figures, while online grocer Ocado posts a first quarter sales update. 

Luke Tugby, head of content