The Co-operative Group plans to take on around 1,700 new managers in its food outlets as it looks to create a consistent management structure across its store base.

The UK retailer said today (9 February) that its "rapid expansion" in recent years has propelled it into the "big five" of UK food retailers but explained that acquisitions of stores from other retailers and co-operative societies mean that management structures differ widely across its store network.

The company said that a review of the management structure in each store will lead to a net 1,700 new jobs being created over the next five months, and create a consistent structure across all its stores.

However, the company added that there will be a reduction in the number of management positions in some stores. It added that, given the overall increase in roles, the retailer hopes to retain as many affected colleagues as possible by redeploying them elsewhere in the business.

A Co-operative spokesperson said that it was unable to say how many jobs would be lost "at this stage" and that it would depend on how many of them moved elsewhere in the business.

Tim Hurrell, chief executive of The Co-op's food business, said: "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. The net effect is a gain of 1,700 jobs and these jobs will be at management level in stores. Where we fill these roles internally it will create opportunities at all levels.

The retailer said it has been working closely with trade union USDAW during negotiations on the new structures and conditions.