Costa Coffee to cut 1,600 jobs as Covid-19 takes toll on cafes | Business

Costa Coffee is to cut up to 1,650 jobs in its cafes – more than one in 10 of its workforce, as it said trading remained challenging during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company, which was bought by Coca Cola two years ago, said it had now reopened 2,400 of its 2,700 UK outlets all of which closed for six weeks during the high street lockdown.

All Costa staff were put on the government’s furlough job retention scheme with full pay but as that scheme winds to a close the coffee shop group said it will remove the assistant store manager role across all shops to cut costs.

“While trade is returning, helped by the government’s VAT reduction, which Costa passed on to customers in full, and the recent “eat out to help out” scheme, there remain high levels of uncertainty as to when trade will recover to pre-Covid levels,” the company said in a statement.

Costa’s move comes after rival coffee shop chain Pret a Manger said last week it planned to cut nearly 2,900 jobs after its sales plummeted.

Airport and train station specialist SSP, which owns Cafè Ritazza and Upper Crust, said in July it would cut 5,000 jobs because of dwindling passenger numbers, while the high street cafe Le Pain Quotidien shed 200 staff after it was bought out of administration.

In July, Coca-Cola said its sales of tea and coffee had fallen by nearly a third in the three months to June, largely due to the temporary closures of nearly all its Costa cafes in western Europe during the period.

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Neil Lake, managing director for Costa Coffee UK and Ireland said: “Today’s announcement to our store teams was an extremely difficult decision to make. Our baristas are the heart of the Costa business and I am truly sorry that many now face uncertainty following today’s news.

“We have had to make these difficult decisions to protect the business and ensure we safeguard as many jobs as possible for our 16,000 team members, whilst emerging stronger ready for future growth.”

Costa said it would seek to find those whose jobs were at risk alternative roles within the business where possible and provide support to help for those leaving the business.

Source: The Guardian

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