High street chain Costa Coffee has said 1,650 roles across the business are at risk of being axed as it reviews its sprawling store estate in light of the coronavirus crisis.

The chain announced it had “made the difficult decision” to enter into consultation with 1,650 staff about possible redundancies as part of its “streamlining” of its store estate in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

Costa said it had made a number of other “difficult decisions” before opening consultations with staff, such as freezing pay increases at its support centre and cutting all non-essential capital expenditure. 

However, despite these measures, Costa said it “must take additional action” to stabilise the business and “ensure that as many jobs as possible are protected long term”.

Costa Coffee UK and Ireland managing director Neil Lake 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. 

“As a proud member of the UK high street, we remain committed to the role Costa plays in supporting the economic recovery of the country, but today I want to say a huge thank you to all of our team members that are affected by this announcement and we will be supporting you throughout this process.”

Costa employs 16,000 people across 1,600 wholly owned UK stores. It said it would try and redeploy as many affected staff as possible to other parts of the business and said it would be offering support to those being made redundant. 

The news will come as another hammer blow to the high street, which has been left reeling from the effects of the spring lockdown and the slow recovery in footfall and spending through the summer. 

Last week, high street coffee and food-to-go giant Pret announced it would be closing 30 stores and slashing up to 2,800 jobs. 

Retailers, too, have been struggling to recover from forced store closures and petering footfall figures. In July department store giant John Lewis announced it would be closing eight stores, putting 1,300 roles at risk. While in August, M&S announced it would be slashing 7,000 roles across its fashion, home and grocery departments over the next three months.