Nearly 700 jobs are at risk at Morrisons nationwide, including some in Louth, as the supermarket announced it will cut costs after a fall in annual profits.
The UK’s fourth biggest supermarket is introducing new machines to replace manual cash-counting in its back offices and yesterday launched a four-week consultation with 689 cash office managers and supervisors across its 490 stores.
Though no specifics have been announced regarding which stores the axe will fall at, we understand a small number could be hit at Louth’s Eastgate store.
The firm, based in Bradford, is under pressure to cut costs after profits last year fell 7 per cent to £879 million.
The news follow the decision to axe 165 roles at its headquarters six months ago by outsourcing financial transaction processing to an Indian firm.
The company said today: “The introduction of new technology is an ongoing programme to ensure that Morrisons continues to improve its competitiveness.
“The new technology will simplify the operation and mean that cash can be automatically counted.”
Morrisons has been losing market share in recent weeks, with Kantar figures showing its slice of the grocery market slid to 11.7 per cent in the 12 weeks to March 17, down from 12.3 per cent a year earlier.
It blamed sliding sales over the key Christmas period on weak advertising of promotions and tough competition.
Its fledgling convenience operation and lack of online sales have also left it trailing behind peers. The retailer plans to rectify this by accelerating the roll-out of its M Local smaller store format to 100 sites by the end of the year and launching an online food offer by January next year.
As part of the online push, it is in talks with online grocer Ocado about an agreement to share its operating knowledge.
Morrisons employs around 131,000 staff nationwide. Shares in the grocer were 2p lower at 277.3p.
The firm however has not hid its commitment to its Louth store, last year it expanded its car park by 40 spaces and the Leader also understands Morrisons have been exploring plans to expand their store for a number of years.
The Louth site was opened in July 2009 when Morrisons bought the store, which was formerly a Somerfield.
The supermarket chain also has stores nearby in Grimsby, Skegness, Boston, Lincoln, Gainsborough and Spalding.