London: Troubled British supermarket giant Tesco said Wednesday it could axe as many as 2,000 jobs under plans to shut 43 stores in a company-wide overhaul.
A spokesman for Tesco, which revealed the closures earlier this month, confirmed that 2,000 jobs were under threat but added that staff would be consulted in a bid to find alternative roles wherever possible.
"We will be speaking to them over the coming weeks," he said, adding that there will be "a number of options" for affected staff including redundancy.
Tesco had unveiled cost-cutting plans in early January to shut the 43 unprofitable branches, sell assets and axe its shareholder dividend in a bid to revive its fortunes after an accounting scandal.
"The decision to close the stores has been exceptionally difficult to take. I recognise it will affect many hard-working colleagues, our customers and local communities," chief executive Dave Lewis said today.
"Our priority is to explain what this announcement means for our colleagues and, wherever possible, offer them alternative roles with Tesco."
The group also decided earlier this month to slash capital expenditure, revise its store building programme and sell its broadband Internet arm, its TV-streaming service Blinkbox and its Dunhumby data analytics business.
Tesco, suffering from fierce competition in Britain from supermarket price wars and German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl, also faces various probes after the giant admitted in October to having overstated its profits by 263 million pounds as a result of accounting errors.