Sainsbury’s intends to close a fully-equipped bakery college in London that it opened four years ago after unveiling restructuring measures that will see the loss of 500 jobs.
The supermarket chain spent £1.4m on the site at Bromley-by-Bow in 2017 to replace its original training facility in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.
At twice the size of the old college and with the capacity to train bakers and bakery managers, the centre was described as the only one of its type in the UK retail sector when it was launched.
But the college, as well as Sainsbury’s Food Lab, will now be moved to “nearby locations” after the company revealed its Online Fulfilment Centre (OFC) – where both are based – would close in June.
Sainsbury’s has opened seven food colleges in the last 10 years.
Together, they have provided more 33,500 employees with externally accredited training that directly supports its business strategy while developing its in-house talent.
The closure of the Bromley-by-Bow site comes after Sainsbury’s chief executive, Simon Roberts, outlined proposals to adapt the business as part of his plan to “put food first”.
The proposals, which are subject to consultation, will enable Sainsbury’s to save money which it can invest in food.
They include rationalising office space and simplifying store support centre teams in commercial operations, human resources, supply chain and logistics, technology and general merchandise and clothing.
It is expected that the plans will result in the reduction of around 500 office roles. The savings created will be invested back into Sainsbury’s core food business.
“Our new plan puts food first and will create a simpler, nimbler and more efficient business. The money we save will enable us to invest in what customers really care about – lower prices, exciting new products and the most convenient ways for them to shop,” said Mr Roberts.
“I know change is difficult, but to do the best job we can for our customers, it is vital that we adapt. I understand this will be a very difficult time for affected colleagues and we will do everything we can to fully support them.”