Co-operative Group today announced that it is to cut 600 jobs at its headquarters in Manchester in a bid to save £50m a year.
The retail-to-property company cited a disappointing financial performance during 2004 when sales and profits both suffered.
Group sales fell to £7.8bn from £8.1bn in 2003 and profits fell to £243.7m, from £327.3m.
Co-op claims each part of its empire has failed to fully exploit the combined strengths of the group, so “streamlining” at its head office is needed.
Martin Beaumont, Co-op chief executive, said: “This is deeply regrettable, but we find ourselves in an unsustainable position.”
Union representatives from the National Association of Co-operative Officials and from Usdaw will be consulted about the job cuts early next week, the company said.