GREGGS is planning to cut 820 jobs due to the downturn in trade amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Tyneside-based bakery chain is acting due to foreseen unprofitable financial results with low sales continuing during the latest lockdown.

A statement issued by chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “Covid trading conditions have forced this action onto our business and we are all very saddened by the need to part company with around 820 friends and colleagues, many of whom have worked with us for many years.

“The battle with Covid hasn't gone away and is intensifying further.”

Continuing lockdown measures across the UK has seen town and city centre footfall dramatically reduced, affecting sales at most Greggs branches.

Mr Whiteside added: “At lockdown levels of sales, even after all of the mitigating action that we have taken, Greggs will not be profitable as a business and there can be no room for complacency.”

News of the job cuts comes less than two months after the bakery said it was in talks with staff to cut hours to try and minimise job losses when the furlough scheme was expected to end, in October.

Mr Whiteside told reporters at the time: “Some stores have staff hours which are just off what’s needed for current demand.

“But others are a long way off and will need significant change.”

The chain employs about 25,000 staff across 2,000 shops across the UK. The job losses will effect about three per cent of its workforce.