Manager to Aisle 3: Morrisons to axe 3,000 manager positions

February 4, 2020

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Morrisons plans to cut 3,000 department managerial roles in stores across the UK as part of a major staffing overhaul.

What does this mean?

Morrisons will cut 3,000 manager positions and create 7,000 new hourly-paid customer service roles, establishing a net 4,000 new posts across its 500 stores. Many of these new roles will be part of the Morrisons’ Market Street butcher, baker and fishmonger counters. David Lepley, Morrisons group retail director, said “this proposal means more frontline colleagues improving product availability and helping customers”.

There will be a 45-day consultation period before any changes occur, with managerial staff who have been made redundant being offered the opportunity to apply for one of the new customer service roles. However, with a salary of £9 an hour, this may mean a pay cut for many. Lepley also added, “whilst there will be a short period of uncertainty for some managers…we will be supporting them through this process and there are jobs available for everybody who wants to continue to work at Morrisons”.

What's the big picture effect?

Sales at Morrisons fell 1.7% in the second half of 2019, with a dip of 2.5% over the Christmas period alone. It is expected this is due to customers turning to German discount supermarket chains Aldi and Lidl. In an effort to remain competitive, the big four supermarkets (Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda) are aiming to reduce staffing costs in order to offer bigger discounts to customers. 

Last year, Tesco announced plans to axe 9,000 jobs and to close fish, meat and deli counters in 90 stores. Morrisons, however, are keen for their Market Street deli sections to help them stand out against competitors. Sainsbury’s is also set to cut hundreds of management jobs this year. Since March 2019, Sainsbury’s has reduced its senior leadership by over 20%. 

Industry data from Nielsen, an American information, data and measurement firm, showed a decrease in market share and sales for all major supermarket chains over the Christmas period. Aldi and Lidl both increased sales, with Lidl’s sales rising by 12.2% compared to the same period last year. Aldi has announced pay rises for staff and a recruitment campaign for 3,800 new store-level positions this year. Giles Hurley, CEO for Aldi UK, stated, “the dedication and commitment our store colleagues deliver every day when serving our customers underpins our success”.

With many customers now more conscious of spending habits and opting for cheaper alternatives, it remains to be seen whether the supermarket giants can compete with smaller grocers who are “Lidl on price”.

Report written by Erin Stockdale

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