Co-op store management shake-up to affect 2,000 staff

The Co-op retail chain has announced a shake-up of its store management structure which is expected to affect 2,000 staff.

It is axing the role of team manager across most of its stores – though stressed there would be no compulsory redundancies and that all those affected would be offered alternative positions.

The changes, which have been trialled over the last couple of years, echo those recently enacted by some of the Co-op’s rivals.

A spokesperson said: “Our aim at Co-op is to serve and support our communities, giving our customers the best possible shopping experience.

“As we move our stores over to a three-tier management structure, protecting jobs is a continuing key priority and we are pleased to be able to offer alternative positions to all the colleagues affected.

“These changes will free up store colleagues to give our customers great service from efficient and well-run shops.”

The changes will see stores operate with a structure of store manager, team leader and customer team member, eliminating the role of team manager.

The Co-op said all team managers would be invited to remain with the business in a team leader role or to apply if they wished to train as a store manager.

The chain, which has 2,600 stores across the country, is part of the wider Co-operative group, whose operations range from funerals to insurance.

It opened 56 new food stores last year and saw like-for-like sales across the grocery network rise by 6.9%, helping to lift the group’s profits.

The group’s overall revenues climbed to £11.5bn and pre-tax profits rose to £127m, though it was faced with £84m in COVID costs – covering extra staff, employee absences, personal protective equipment and a workers’ bonus.

The results, published earlier this month, also warned: “Looking ahead, we see significant uncertainty and must continue to exercise financial prudence.”

The Co-op’s shake-up follows management restructuring at the likes of Sainsbury’s and Morrisons at the start of 2020.

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