Down, down, job numbers are down: Coles to cut 440 jobs at HQ

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 3rd September 2014
Coles announces plans to cut almost 440 jobs from Melbourne head office
Coles announces plans to cut almost 440 jobs from Melbourne head office

Supermarket giant Coles has confirmed today that it plans to cut almost 440 jobs in its Melbourne head office in an effort to further cut costs and improve efficiencies.

After speculation yesterday that over 600 jobs would be cut, Coles today formally announced that 378 permanent jobs will be cut and 60 contractors from the Tooronga-based store support centre are set to be cut. This will be the largest number of job cuts since Wesfarmers took control of Coles in 2007.

Job losses will mainly be from back office functions, with cuts across departments including payments, accounts and IT, raising concerns from some suppliers of a future slowing in terms of payment to suppliers.

John Durkan, managing director of Coles suggested that the job cuts will foster growth by simplifying systems and processes, “allowing for a more efficient and productive organisation”. Mr Durkan was quick to deny that jobs would be sent offshore. He was responding to concerns raised by Ingrid Stitt of the Australian Services Union. Ms Stitt had previously stated “it’s a significant number of jobs that will be lost and worryingly…it looks like some of these jobs might be offshored”.

Ms Stitt questioned what further action would be taken by Coles. “We obviously want to know what steps are going to be taken to try and find alternative employment for people and what training opportunities might exist for some of the workers that have been impacted,” Ms Stitt said.

Mr Durkan stated that “all departing team members will be provided with extensive support, including career transition services and, of course, their full entitlements” with plans for up to 160 people to be redeployed across the business.

“Team members affected by this decision have made a significant contribution to Coles and I sincerely thank them for their hard work,” he said.

Despite the job cuts, Coles announced it has plans to invest $1.1 billion to build 70 new stores across Australia including 14 new stores across Victoria in the coming 3 years.

“To be a world class retailer, Coles needs to invest further in new stores, in renewing existing stores and in better service and value for our customers,” Mr Durkan said, echoing similar recent words to those expressed by rival Woolworths on corporate expansion strategies. Additionally, Mr Durkan said that as part of Coles’ expanding financial services, it plans to create more than 70 positions.