Cafe chain Costa has said 1,650 staff in the UK are at risk of redundancy as it looks to cut costs amid continued uncertainty over when trade will fully recover following the pandemic. 

It told staff today that it has started consultations which could impact more than a 10th of roles.

The move comes a week after rival Pret A Manger revealed it was slashing 2,800 roles as part of a restructure of its UK business.

Costa closed nearly all of its 2,700 UK stores for six weeks during the pandemic but had now reopened around 2,400 sites.

The Coca Cola-owned chain said trade is "returning" after being boosted by the UK government's VAT reduction on food and non-alcoholic drinks and the recent Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

However, it said the proposed job cuts had been driven by "high levels of uncertainty as to when trade will recover to pre-Covid levels". 

"Today's announcement to our store teams was an extremely difficult decision to make," said Neil Lake, managing director for Costa Coffee UK and Ireland.

"Our baristas are the heart of the Costa business and I am truly sorry that many now face uncertainty following today's news," Mr Lake said.

"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," he added.

Costa employs 16,000 people across 1,600 wholly owned UK stores. There are 1,100 Costa franchise stores across the UK employing 10,500.

A spokeswoman for the company said today's announcement only affects UK Costa Coffee equity stores and does not include franchise stores or employees employed by franchise stores in either UK or those in Ireland.