The Co-operative Group is to shed 600 jobs at its Manchester head office by next year.

The move follows a review of head office functions and costs across all its businesses, which found duplication of management roles and operational inefficiencies were rife at the Manchester centre. Trimming staff from 3,300 to 2,700 would save the group £50m a year, according to the review.

The Co-op is currently holding talks with trade unions about the restructuring plan and has not ruled out compulsory job losses, although it hopes to achieve the cuts through voluntary redundancies and natural wastage.

The job cuts will affect all business units within the food-to-funerals group and will run in parallel with the already established plan to improve performance at its food stores.