SUPERMARKET chain Asda is consulting staff over the axing of 4100 department manager jobs at its stores as the grocery price war starts to hit employees.

The company, owned by American retail giant Wal-Mart, insisted it would end up with 900 more staff on the shop floor by creating 5000 positions, most lower-level section leader roles, with more workers detailed to fulfil internet orders.

Asda, which has 59 stores in Scotland and will open another in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire in August, admitted cutting managerial jobs would save it money but declined to say how much.

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Chief executive Andy Clarke said: "Some of these department managers may take on the new roles, some may take different roles, some may choose to leave."

Asda, the grocery market number two behind Tesco, said many previously paper-based tasks, such as rota organisation that are undertaken by department heads - who are two levels below store manager - are now more automated.

The company has launched a 12-week consultation with staff at its 576 stores.

Asda said it was among the winners in an increasingly polarised grocery market, although it reported a rise in like-for-like sales of just 0.1% for the 15 weeks to April 20.

In November the chain announced plans to cut prices in an effort to compete with the rising force of discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl and undercut its rivals among the big grocers.

As a result it is seeking £1 billion of cost savings over the next five years.