THE news that hundreds of jobs are to go at Asda strikes at the very heart of Leeds.
Generations of people from Leeds and beyond have enjoyed working at the store’s headquarters in the city and have been proud to do so. They have helped turn a little regional retailer into a global business. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters have been proud to work for Asda.
So the news that hundreds of them were shown the door yesterday is devastating on many levels – for families, for communities and for Leeds as a whole that its leading private business is being forced to make such unpalatable decisions.
One can only hope that at the end of this process, Asda – which has suffered at the hands of discounters – will again be a company on the up.
Recent figures at least offer hope. The supermarket reported a 1.8 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the second quarter, bringing an end to 11 quarters of deterioration.
Asda is in the midst of a turnaround plan under new chief executive Sean Clarke, who is attempting to arrest falling sales as the supermarket scraps it out with rivals in a brutal price war that has eroded profits.
That of course will be of scant consolation to people who are now wondering how to pay the mortgage, feed the family and where on earth to find a secure and rewarding job.