Brakes said it anticipated a reduced market and a lengthy recovery period and was proposing a number of changes to its organisation. These would include the closure of its Thorpe and Coventry depots and the relocation of two contact centres.
The company has entered a period of consultation with staff impacted by the proposals but would not be drawn on how many this might affect.
Earlier this week, Bidfresh’s produce business Oliver Kay also revealed it would be restructuring operations, moving out of Bolton in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic,
Brakes said that both the Thorpe and Coventry depots had been closed temporarily since April and customers had been served by other depots without any disruption to service.
Hugo Mahoney, Brakes CEO, said it was “saddening and troubling times”, but that the company needed to be realistic about both the short- and long-term impacts.
“While the COVID-19 crisis and downturn has caused us to act now, our goal has been – and remains to be – a strong, resilient partner to our customers and we have therefore proposed a number of changes to ensure we can continue to deliver a service that meets their current and future needs, “ Mahoney said.
“This builds upon the significant investments we are making in our service network, systems and processes with the support of our parent company Sysco.”
Brakes has taken a number of steps to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, including initiatives such as distributing the Government’s care packages to the shielded and vulnerable, supplying to retail and convenience chains, and establishing new direct-to-consumer services.
However, Mahoney said this was not a “replacement for the business lost by the closure of the hospitality sector”.
“We know this will be very disappointing news for the colleagues who are affected, and we will do our utmost to support them through this difficult time,”he said.
“None of these changes will adversely affect our service to our customers, and we are developing a package of support to ensure our customers can be up and trading quickly and efficiently.”
In earlier news, Scunthorpe-based TSC Foods has revealed it will axe up to 200 jobs as a result of pressures stemming from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, prepared meals food manufacturer Bakkavor has revealed that 500 jobs could be under threat at its salad factory in Spalding, Lincolnshire.