Hundreds of Asda employees are on the chopping block as the supermarket looks to make changes to 18 underperforming stores.
Britain's third-largest supermarket confirmed that it is consulting with more than three thousand employees at the 18 stores about cutting staff numbers and hours.
However, insiders said that based on similar staffing consultations, it expected redundancies to be in the "low hundreds" rather than thousands.
The supermarket stressed that it had no plans to shut the 18 stores.
The retailer, which last week posted its worst annual figures since being taken over by Walmart, is also consulting with staff at 59 other supermarkets, but it is understood that this is about a change to working hours.
Asda admitted that its performance last year was "behind expectations" after profits crashed by almost a fifth and sales languished below its rivals. The supermarket has been battered by the rise of discounters Lidl and Aldi, which has prompted the other major supermarkets to slash their prices.
An Asda spokesperson told The Telegraph. “It is common practice for a supermarket to need to make changes to hours based on the changing shopping habits of customers.
"We understand that any conversations about change are unsettling but it is always our upmost priority to find alternative roles or working patterns for impacted colleagues.”
The announcement follows news that Sainsbury’s is taking the axe to more than 1,000 jobs at its head office as part of a giant £500m cost-cutting drive.
It is understood that a team of top consultants from McKinsey have been parachuted into the supermarket’s headquarters to draw up a staff reduction plan.
In March, Sainsbury’s announced it was slashing 400 jobs, with a further 4,000 employees facing major changes to their working hours, as part of a shake-up of night shift work at 140 stores.
And in June, Tesco unveiled 1,200 job losses at its head office, just one week after announcing 1,100 jobs would be culled at a call centre in Cardiff, as boss Dave Lewis steps up a sweeping cost-cutting drive.