Southern Co-op warns of job losses ahead of head office revamp

The society hopes to keep losses to around 30 jobs out of 240 central roles, as it works to keep up with shifts in consumer behaviour

Southern Co-op has announced a review of its head office in Portsmouth, in response to “the impact of changing market conditions and shifts in how consumers are shopping”.

The retail society says the reorganiation “will also reflect the successful completion of a multi-year programme of investment in major IT systems … and ensure that central operations continue to support evolving business needs in serving members and other customers”.

There will be some newly created roles, it adds, and some existing ones will be expanded, bringing opportunities for some colleagues. However, indications are that the review will also lead to some “unavoidable redundancies”, it warns.

Southern says aims to keep job losses to a minimum, and anticipates that when the process is finished, out of a total of 240 central roles, actual job losses will be around 30.

Roles in the society’s 330 directly managed food, funeral and coffee branches are not impacted. There are also no changes to the future growth plans for these business areas.

Mark Smith

CEO Mark Smith said: “Sadly, a number of colleagues in our head office will leave the business following the review, and we will be working closely with them to guide them through the change.

“Like other retailers, we must align our resources with the economic conditions and market changes we are seeing. By acting now, we can continue to place Southern Co-op as the option of choice for customers in our key markets.

“Making these changes and our continued investment in our trading businesses will position us for long term success as we support business growth and greater efficiencies.” 

Southern Co-op anticipates the review will be completed by the end of November 2023.