The Co-operative Group is to overhaul its management structure following its recent wave of acquisitions and expansion.

It claims the changes will create 1,700 jobs in its food stores over the next five months, with most of the positions at management level.

"We're adopting a consistent approach that is appropriate to the size of each store and will help us meet our goal of delivering excellent service," said chief executive Tim Hurrell.

"The net effect is a gain of 1,700 jobs at a management level. Where we fill these roles internally it will create opportunities at all levels of the business."

These new positions are in addition to the Co-operative Group's plans to expand its food store network over the next three years, which it hopes will add about 7,000 extra store staff.

Hurrell added that offering a better service for customers was the end goal for the structural changes.

"We are proud of the role our stores play at the heart of so many communities, right across the UK, and these changes will help us to further improve our customer service," he said.

The Co-op will be working with trade union USDAW on the new structures.