Coles Cuts 400 Jobs, But To Open More Stores

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By Vittorio Hernandez | September 4, 2014 8:08 AM EST

Australian grocery giant Coles said on Wednesday that it would axe more than 400 jobs from its head office in Melbourne. At the same time, it would open more outlets.

The jobs to be shed belong to 378 permanent workers and 60 contractual employees assigned at its Store Support Centre. They occupy staff and middle management posts.


Customers line up to pay for their purchases at a state-run Bicentenario supermarket in Caracas May 2, 2014. President Nicolas Maduro is introducing a controversial shopping card intended to combat Venezuela's food shortages but decried by critics as a Cuban-style policy illustrating the failure of his socialist policies. Maduro, the 51-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez, trumpets the new "Secure Food Supply" card, which will set limits on purchases, as a way to stop unscrupulous shoppers stocking up on subsidized groceries and reselling them. REUTERS/Jorge Silva (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS SOCIETY)

The job cuts aim to achieve about $40 million savings, which would translate into lower price tags in their groceries, store refurbishing and keep the pressure on main competitor Woolworths.

The twin moves are part of the company restructuring to boost investment in its store network in the country and to achieve simplified systems and processes at its head office. It is the biggest restructuring since Coles bought Wesfarmers for $20 billion in 2007.

"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," Coles Managing Director John Durkan said in a statement.

He added that some of the affected workers would be offered 160 redeployment opportunities in Melbourne and Victoria, but he assured none of the axed jobs would go offshore. Some of those affected by the job cuts are general managers from Wesfarmers who were absorbed by Coles in the buy-out.

In the next few years, Coles would invest $1.1 billion on 70 new stores, which would create 8,000 retail and 8,000 construction jobs.

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Customers line up to pay for their purchases at a state-run Bicentenario supermarket in Caracas May 2, 2014. President Nicolas Maduro is introducing a controversial shopping card intended to combat Venezuela's food shortages but decried by critics as a Cuban-style policy illustrating the failure of his socialist policies. Maduro, the 51-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez, trumpets the new "Secure Food Supply" card, which will set limits on purchases, as a way to stop unscrupulous shoppers stocking up on subsidized groceries and reselling them. REUTERS/Jorge Silva (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS SOCIETY)
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