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Co-op set to axe hundreds of head office of jobs

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Mutual retail organisation The Co-operative Group is to announce as many as 300 head office job losses today, a report from The Independent has revealed.

An unspecified number of impending redundancies were announced to employees in an internal memo last month as part of a streamlining process to cut costs, and staff members have now been instructed to assemble at designated locations in Manchester today to learn their fate.

The Independent understands that between 200 and 300 workers will be let go, although none of the roles at the group’s 3,000+ grocery stores are expected to be affected.

In last month’s memo, Co-op CEO for Food Sean Toal said: “In common with other UK food retailers, we are continuing to face very extreme challenges in a market where customers are spending less.

“It is no exaggeration to say that our business is experiencing some of its toughest trading conditions in recent history and this is impacting on our financial performance.”

Over its Christmas trading period ending December 31st 2011, sales at Co-op dropped 0.2 per cent year-on-year, as all of the grocery sector was hit by slow trading.

Despite the difficulties facing the business, it is clear that the retailer is still fully committed to its portfolio of supermarkets having added a further 28 stores to the group by buying Scottish trader David Sands last month.

Group CEO Peter Marks is understood to want efficiencies made in back-office operations, with job cuts likely to hit workers in IT and human resources roles.

Published on Thursday 23 February by Editorial Assistant

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