Tesco is to slash more than 1,800 jobs as part of changes to bakeries in its large UK supermarkets. 

The retailer said 1,816 bakery staff are at risk of redundancy as part of the overhaul, which will take place from May. 

Tesco said it will convert 58 of its bakeries to focus on finishing pre-baked products in-store, and 201 sites will only bake some of its most popular items from scratch. 

Tesco Ireland said the move related to the UK only and would have no impact on its operations here.

Tesco said the move, which will also see bakeries at another 257 UK sites remain unchanged, means it will need fewer staff members. 

Jason Tarry, Tesco's UK and ROI chief executive, said: "We need to adapt to changing customer demand and tastes for bakery products so that we continue to offer customers a market-leading bakery range in store". 

"We know this will be very difficult for colleagues who are impacted, and our priority is to support them through this process. We hope that many will choose to stay with us in alternative roles," he added. 

Tesco said it will look to find other jobs for the staff, with "thousands of store vacancies" expected to be available across its network between now and May. 

Meanwhile Tesco has completed its exit from China with the sale of a 20% stake in a joint venture to a unit of its state-run partner China Resources Holdings (CRH), raising £275m. 

Having struggled to crack the Chinese market, Tesco established the Gain Land joint venture with CRH in 2014, combining its 131 stores in China with its partner's almost 3,000. 

The disposal allows Tesco to further simplify and focus the business on its core operations, it said on today, adding that the proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes. 

After costly exits from Japan and the US and the sale of its South Korean business, Tesco signaled in December a further retreat from its once lofty global ambitions by starting a review of its remaining Asian businesses.

This could result in a sale of its operations in Thailand and Malaysia. 

If Tesco does quit Thailand and Malaysia, its only overseas operations, apart from Ireland, will be its central European division, consisting of stores in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

The Asian exit could be one of the last acts of Tesco's CEO since 2014, Dave Lewis, who will be succeeded by Irishman Ken Murphy in October.