Asda is to axe up to 1,200 jobs at its in-store bakeries as customers shun the traditional loaf in favour of speciality breads, bagels and pancakes.

The chain currently employs bakers who make bread in store from scratch.

But now it has said it plans to move to a central bakery and deliver pre-baked breads to its supermarkets.

“The current in-store bakery model has restricted our ability to respond to changing customer demands,” said Derek Lawlor, Asda’s head of merchandising.

As a result, he said, the supermarket chain had not been able to offer shoppers “speciality products and freshly baked goods they want to buy throughout the day”

Asda said the change would mean it was able to bake fresh products several times a day, rather than once a day in store.

It will begin a formal consultation with its bakers and bakery managers.

“If the proposals are enacted, the priority will be to move as many colleagues as possible into alternative roles within Asda, with redundancy the last option,” the supermarket chain said in a statement.

Billionaire brothers

The move by Asda follows a similar decision by Tesco last year.

Up to 1,800 were faced with the prospect of redundancy when Tesco said it would do less baking in store, citing a similar shift away from traditional loaves and bread.

Until last year, Asda was owned by US supermarket giant Walmart, but in December, it was sold to billionaire brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who bought it for £6.8bn.

However, the decision to scrap in-store bread ovens was taken independently of the Issa brothers, who are not allowed to exercise influence over the chain until the deal has been examined by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Source: BBC