Co-op Group announces 400 head office job cuts as inflation bites

The retailer said it had made the decision with ‘heavy heart’ as the cost of living crisis brings tough trading conditions

The Co-op Group is cutting 400 jobs at its Angel Square HQ in Manchester, blaming tough trading conditions and rising inflation.

The Group, which employs 63,000 people including 4,000 at its head offices, warned in April of continuing problems with food supplies and inflation as it announced its annual results, with chair Allan Leighton warning: “The economic headwinds look stark and will be tricky to navigate.”

Figures from retail analyst Kantar for the three months to 10 July show that Group sales have fallen 2% in the three months to 10 July, with the cost of living crisis seeing shoppers turn to discounters like Aldi or Lidl.

Related: Analysis of the Co-operative Group financial results

In a statement, the Group said: “We make these changes with a heavy heart, but it is the right thing to do for the long-term health of our Co-op and for all of our members.

At our last set of annual results, we shared, that as part of our strategy, making our Co-op more efficient and cost-effective was a priority. The tough trading environment, including rising inflation, means we have taken the difficult decision to bring forward some of the changes we had planned for 2023.

“These changes, designed to simplify our approach to business, will sadly mean a number of colleagues in central functions will leave the business.”

The Group added that there will be no changes to customer-facing roles in its food stores or funeral homes. It hopes to reduce roles by not filling vacancies in preference to making redundancies.