Tesco announces closure of some of its fresh food counters

Tesco is to close some of its fresh food counters with the loss of 9,000 jobs.

The retailer, which has more than 3,400 stores, said shoppers had less time to spend and so were using fresh food counters less frequently.

Fish, meat and other fresh food counters will close in about 90 stores but remain trading in 700 more, some with reduced hours.

The company, which controls more than a quarter of the UK grocery market,said it did not plan any significant changes to its in-store bakeries this year.

Jason Tarry, the chief executive of Tesco’s UK and Irish business said: “In our four years of turnaround we’ve made good progress, but the market is challenging, and we need to continually adapt to remain competitive and respond to how customers want to shop.

“Over recent years, our convenience and online businesses have continued to grow, as have our core grocery and fresh departments in our large stores. Not only are customers shopping in different ways, but we know that they have less time available to shop too – which means they are using our counters less frequently.

We will be making changes to the counters in our large stores to ensure that we have the right offer for customers. We expect that around 90 stores will close their counters, with the remaining 700 trading with either a full or flexible counter offer for our customers.

The cuts are part of a plan to slash £1.5bn from Tesco’s cost base as the chief executive, Dave Lewis, tries to rebuild profits, which have never recovered from an accounting scandal in 2014.

The company is also trying to simplify and cut costs to help it fight back against the discounters Aldi and Lidl, which are taking an increasing share of the market.