Bewildered Netto store managers have been left clueless as to the role they will be offered when their stores are taken over by Asda later this year.

All store managers completed an online assessment and were interviewed by Asda last autumn but claim they have been kept in the dark since then. They do not expect to hear anything until their stores are converted to the Asda fascia.

The Grocer understands that Netto's regional and area managers have been told what their new roles will be following a lengthy process which involved team building sessions, interviews and an appraisal.

Some have opted for redundancy, while others have been demoted to store manager, raising the possibility that the existing managers could face demotion to deputy managers.

Another source suggested existing store managers could be demoted even further. "Asda were so disappointed with the calibre of the current Netto managers following the online assessment and interviews they carried out last year that they said they would not even employ them as team leaders," the source claimed.

Asda had planned to ­rebrand Netto stores in the second quarter, but the timetable has been hit by a series of delays and is now scheduled for the third quarter. The £778m deal was only approved by the Office of Fair Trading in September last year, on condition that Asda sold 47 stores.

The Grocer understands that Asda has so far sold 46 to Morrisons, independent chain Haldanes and Iceland. The only remaining store is in Birtley. The OFT is yet to confirm whether the one remaining sale will hold up the completion of the deal further.

Haldanes is looking to rebrand all of the stores it acquired to its new discount fascia Ugo by the middle of the month.

"It's all systems go" said a spokesman for the retailer. "We met with all former Netto employees quickly, and have had excellent feedback from them. We are delighted to be inheriting such excellent members of staff."