Tesco has announced plans to scrap its non-food website Tesco Direct, jeopardising hundreds of jobs.
The UK’s largest grocer is due to close the website on July 9, alongside its Fenny Lock distribution centre in Milton Keynes, where around 500 staff are currently employed.
It is understood that jobs at Tesco’s head office in Welwyn Garden City and Dundee customer service centre may also be affected.
In a statement released this afternoon, Tesco’s UK chief executive Charles Wilson said the site was a “small, loss-making part of the business” and had “no route to profitability”.
Many of the goods available on Tesco Direct are already available through the Tesco.com site, and the move is part of the grocer’s drive to “create a simpler online experience for customers,” where all items can be bought in one place.
“We want to offer our customers the ability to buy groceries and non-food products in one place and that’s why we are focusing our investment into one online platform,” Wilson said.
“This decision has been a very difficult one to make, but it is an essential step towards establishing a more sustainable non-food offer and growing our business for the future.”
The head of workers’ union Usdaw, Joanne McGuinness, said this was “devestating news” for Tesco Direct staff.
“Usdaw officials and senior reps will now enter into consultation talks with the company where we will look closely at the business case for the proposed closure,” she said.
“Our priorities will be to support, advise and represent our members through this difficult period, and to get the best possible deal for them.”