Argos closures: why Sainsbury’s is closing 420 UK Argos stores and cutting 3,500 jobs - and which branches could be affected

Sainsbury's is closing 420 Argos stores, including 120 that have not reopened since the first lockdown (Shutterstock)Sainsbury's is closing 420 Argos stores, including 120 that have not reopened since the first lockdown (Shutterstock)
Sainsbury's is closing 420 Argos stores, including 120 that have not reopened since the first lockdown (Shutterstock)
The closures include 120 stores which have been shut since the first lockdown in March

Sainsbury’s has announced the closure of 420 of its Argos stores, along with plans to cut 3,500 jobs.

The move, which came to light on Thursday, is part of the grocery giant’s ongoing restructuring strategy.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The job cuts will mainly come from the shutting down of standalone Argos outlets over the next three years, alongside the closure of all meat, fish and deli counters within Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

Here’s everything you need to know about the closures.

Why is Sainsbury’s closing Argos stores?

The grocery giant, which bought the Argos chain in 2016, plans to permanently shut 120 standalone Argos branches that have not reopened since they were forced to close during the first national lockdown in March.

These initial closures are part of an umbrella plan to shut around 420 standalone Argos stores by March 2024 - four-fifths of the total number of Argos standalone outlets in the country.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sainsbury’s said it expected the total number of standalone Argos branches to be about 100 by the end of the restructuring.

Meat, fish and deli counters are also to close in Sainsbury’s stores due to lower customer demand and a need to reduce food waste, adding to the number of job cuts.

Simon Roberts, Chief Executive of J Sainsbury plc, said the closures were part of a strategy to “make Argos a simpler, more efficient and more profitable business”.

He warned the business was down 1.1% for the year, with pre-tax losses of £137 million caused by closures and “market changes”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Despite the closures, the retailer, which has a total workforce of 172,000, said it plans to open 150 more Argos concessions inside its supermarkets.

Sainsbury’s is also expanding its online and digital operations due to the pandemic causing “a number of shifts” in the supermarket industry.

Which Argos branches are affected?

Information on which Argos stores will be affected by the closures has not been made public, but Mr Roberts said employees will be informed on Thursday about where the move leaves their jobs.

He added the grocer will work “really hard” to find other roles for as many of the impacted staff members as possible.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The opening of more Argos outlets inside Sainsbury’s stores may create additional job roles.

Sainsbury’s said it will have created around 6,000 net new jobs by the end of this year.

What other stores have made job cuts?

Businesses across the UK are feeling the pressure of the coronavirus crisis on trading, with other retail giants recently announcing redundancies.

This week, the John Lewis Partnership said it was cutting a further 1,500 jobs in its head office, after already shedding 1,390 roles earlier this year when eight of its underperforming department stores and four Waitrose sites were closed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lloyds Banking Group also announced plans to cut 1,070 jobs - even though it reported £1 billion third-quarter profits. The bank had already cut 865 roles in September.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 200,000 jobs have been estimated to have been lost over a range of industries, including travel, hospitality, banking and retail.

Due to England’s second lockdown, thousands more workers will remain on furlough.