Sainsbury’s to close huge Argos depot in Greater Manchester – with more than 1,400 jobs at risk
Sainsbury’s has announced that it is set to close two Argos distribution sites in the UK within the next three years.
The supermarket retailer is set to shut both its depot in the Heywood area of Greater Manchester, and its warehouse in Basildon in Essex, by 2026 – with more than 1,400 jobs believed to be at risk due to these closures.
On top of this, the retailer’s three remaining Habitat showrooms will also close later this year, as Sainsbury’s makes plans to launch a replacement digital showroom.
The group’s office in Milton Keynes is also to close as a response to the rise of flexible working.
Both Sainsbury’s workers, and those who work for Wincanton as part of an outsourced contract, may see their roles cut over the next three years due to distribution site closures, but only a small number of Habitat workers should expect to be affected, and no jobs at the corporate office HQ are at risk, the retailer has confirmed.
Sainsbury’s says the closures are all part of its plan to “create a simpler business”.
“We previously set out our intention to integrate our Argos and Sainsbury’s logistics networks,” explained Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts, “and over the last few years, we’ve been working hard to transform this network as we make our business simpler, more efficient and more effective for customers.
“This also allows us to reduce costs, so we can invest where it will make the most impact for our customers.”
He added that the company understands this will be “an unsettling time for affected colleagues”, and assured that “we will support them however we can throughout this process,” – with workers impacted by the decision now able to “explore alternative roles” within the group.
The retailer’s announcement of the site closures has not been received well by industry figures, with officials at trade union Unite saying there’s “no economic justification” for it.
“Management has yet to provide any form of business case for the loss of these jobs,” said Unite national officer, Matt Draper.
“This is an incredibly wealthy company which should be investing in its loyal workforce rather than dumping workers in pursuit of short-term profits, and if Sainsbury’s doesn’t drop its closure plans, then Unite will pursue all avenues to preserve employment at these sites.”
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He added that the union will “put forward an alternative business case to the company” to keep its members in their jobs.
Featured Image – Sainsbury’s