Sainsbury’s has announced 3,500 job cuts, most of them impacting Argos, which it acquired in 2006. This news follows the announcement this summer – which prompted a nation-wide outburst of nostalgia – that Argos would no longer be printing physical catalogues.
As a result of this cull, Argos is set to lose over four-fifths of its physical stores, cutting the total number from 583 to around 100. Sainsbury’s, meanwhile, will be scrapping its fresh fish and meat counters, and delicatessens, meaning more job losses.
According to a source within Argos – and multiple staff members posting on social media – Argos staff were not informed of the news before it was announced to media.
Sainsbury’s has claimed these redundancies will be made up for by new jobs being created elsewhere. Chief Executive Simon Roberts said, "We will work really hard to find alternative roles for as many of these colleagues as possible, and expect to be able to offer alternative roles for the majority of impacted colleagues."
As for Argos, in a statement on Twitter the company said: “As more customers choose to shop online, we will add 150 to 200 more Argos collection points in supermarkets and convenience stores and open up to 150 more Argos stores in Sainsbury’s.”
The “death of the British High Street” has been proclaimed for decades now – and it’s never quite happened as predicted, but COVID-19 presents the latest in a long line of challenges to the retail industry.
Sainsbury’s is not the first major company to announce job losses. This week, Clarks announced it would be making redundant roughly two members of staff from each of its 320 stories. John Lewis has announced 1,500 job losses at its head office, after already announcing 1,390 nationwide.