Department store group BHS is to cut jobs at its head office and in stores in order to become more efficient as it bids for a turnaround.

BHS will axe 150 jobs at its headquarters – just under a third of approximately 600 roles there.

In stores, BHS will combine two roles into one as the positions of sales floor manager and lead associate are merged. That will affect 220 people.

The numbers affected represent a small proportion of the retailer’s 8,500 staff, whose future will be safeguarded if recovery plans are successful.

BHS chief executive Darren Topp is understood to have informed affected staff this morning.

The staffing changes coincide with plans to strike a corporate voluntary arrangement with landlords in order to reduce rents that are out of kilter with the wider market and, assuming that is successful, to press on with improvements to stores in the expectation of becoming profitable in 2017.

BHS has been loss-making for several years but Topp said that about half the retailer’s stores are profitable and the bulk of the estate could be if rents were reset to market levels.

Topp said: “On conclusion of all of these initiatives, the group will have the right structure and financial flexibility to pursue a strong updated turnaround plan.”