British supermarket chain, Asda, has reportedly decided to cease in-store baking of buns, bread, and croissants at its 341 supermarkets, putting 1,200 jobs at risk. Accordingly, the company’s baked products, comprising pastries and bread, will be made in a central bakery unit and then reheated in stores, cite sources knowledgeable of the matter.
According to the Leeds-based retailer, these changes would offer a wide variety of products that are baked fresh numerous times a day, when compared to merely once a day at present.
The company also highlighted that the changes were not related to the £6.8 billion sale of the company to the private equity group TDR Capital and petrol forecourt billionaires Mohsin and Zuber Issa. The transaction has not yet been cleared by the competition watchdog.
As per Derek Lawlor, Asda’s Chief Merchandising Officer, the present in-store bakery model has limited the retailer’s capability for responding to the changing demands of customers. This has also put a restriction on offering them freshly baked goods and specialty products that they intend to purchase throughout the day.
Lawlor further stated that the changes that the company is proposing will provide a more consistent and much better bakery offering for consumers across all its stores. Asda knows that these proposed alterations will be unsettling for its employees and the company’s priority is to support them through this process, added Lawlor.
According to Asda, the proposal followed a remarkable shift in customer buying behaviors through the recent years. The demand for specialty wraps, breads, pancakes, and bagels is outstripping traditional loaves.
For the record, the recent job cuts come less than a two-month-period after Asda stated that 5,000 jobs were at risk from the elimination of thousands of back-office jobs and closures of two warehouses. It is to be noted that supermarkets have been trying to save cash in stores by reducing services comprising deli and bakery counters and cutting back on management roles.