Tesco counter cull concern for fish-supplying Grimsby

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 29 Jan 2019

A decision by Tesco to close some fresh counter operations in stores will scrutinised in Grimsby, from where seafood is supplied and training has previously been carried out.

A total of 90 stores are to lose counters, with the remaining 700 to become more flexible, as part of moves which could hit up to 9,000 staff. It could mean fish, deli and butchery counters only open in busier shopping periods.

Staff canteen roles will also be lost in the shake up.

Read more: Revenues up at Young's Seafood as annual results published

Jason Tarry, Tesco chief executive, said: “The market is challenging and we need to continually adapt to remain competitive and respond to how customers want to shop. We’re making changes to our UK stores and head office to simplify what we do and how we do it, so we’re better able to meet the needs of our customers. This will impact some of our colleagues and our commitment is to minimise this as much as possible and support our colleagues throughout.”

Focusing on the counter service overhaul, a statement from Tesco said: “Over recent years, our convenience and online businesses have continued to grow, as have our core grocery and fresh departments in our large stores. Not only are customers shopping in different ways, but we know that they have less time available to shop too – which means they are using our counters less frequently. We will be making changes to the counters in our large stores to ensure that we have the right offer for customers. We expect that around 90 stores will close their counters, with the remaining 700 trading with either a full or flexible counter offer for our customers.”

Read more: Biggest importer's hard Brexit concern on fresh salmon supply

Seachill, Grimsby’s second largest employer, is a huge supplier to the number one retailer, with a source close to the company describing it as a “small bump in the road” in what has been a phenomenal growth story in recent years. Officials declined to comment, but one insider told how it would simply look to swap current wet fish counter custom to pre-prepared, which is already supplied as the far larger proportion of the overall work.

Grimsby Seafood Village provides training for Tesco fishmongers on an ad-hoc basis."Nothing has changed to give us cause for concern," Ivan Jaines-White, commercial manager said. 

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