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Asda's home shopping centre in Dartford to close with the loss of hundreds of jobs as part of major restructure

Supermarket giant Asda has announced it plans to close a warehouse in Kent as part of a major restructure.

The 'home shopping centre' in Sandpit Road, Dartford, where online orders are put together, has been identified as surplus to requirements, along with another one in Heston, West London.

Dartford borough councillor Kelly Grehan reacts to news that hundreds of jobs could be lost in her town

The two units, where a combined total of 800 staff are understood to be employed, are also used by 'click and collect' customers.

The closures are part of consultations with around 5,000 staff launched by Asda in restructure which could put around 3,000 back office store workers at risk, particularly affecting staff with cash and administrative roles amid the continued slump in cash transactions.

It said the restructuring had been driven by the “structural shift” towards online grocery shopping during the pandemic. The firm said it also plans to create around 4,500 separate jobs in its online operations this year and will look to hire staff impacted by the potential cuts.

The plans to close its Dartford and Heston home shopping centres come as Asda looks to shift more picking operations into stores.

Asda's warehouse in Sandpit Road, Dartford. Picture: Google Street View
Asda's warehouse in Sandpit Road, Dartford. Picture: Google Street View

It added that around 1,100 of its store management roles would be changed to support online grocery operations as more picking takes place in stores.

However, the company said this could increase the total headcount in these roles by around 60, as part of the consultations.

Roger Burnley, Asda chief executive and president, said: “The pandemic has accelerated change across the retail sector, especially the shift towards grocery home shopping, and our priority is to serve customers in the way they want to shop with us.

“The last 12 months have shown us that businesses have to be prepared to adapt quickly to change and I am incredibly proud of the way we demonstrated our agility and resilience through the pandemic.

“We know that these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this consultation process.

Asda chief executive Roger Burnley. Picture: Asda/PA
Asda chief executive Roger Burnley. Picture: Asda/PA

“Our plans to transform the business will result in more roles being created than those we propose to remove and our absolute aim is to ensure as many colleagues as possible stay with us, as well as creating the opportunity to welcome new people to our business.”

It comes months after the billionaire Issa brothers and private equity backer TDR Capital agreed a £6.8 billion deal for the supermarket chain.

The takeover is still awaiting approval from competition regulators, so the new owners are yet to take control of Asda’s operations.

Read more: All the latest news from Dartford

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