Tesco has made 170 workers redundant across the country in distribution centres and a call centre as it continues to cut costs.

At its Middlewich distribution centre, 40 staff were asked this week to volunteer for redundancy as part of a streamlining process that has already led to 50 jobs going at another distribution centre in Didcot, Oxfordshire this year.

A further 80 temporary jobs have been axed from a Tesco call centre located in Dundee.

Analysts are also predicting job losses among the 5,000 staff at head office, but a Tesco spokesman said the company "would not comment on speculation" about the mooted head office cuts.

"It is important to remember that Tesco is planning to create more than 10,000 jobs nationwide this year through store and distribution centre openings," said a spokesman. "I wouldn't say the job losses pale into insignificance, but it is important to remember we are creating jobs."

The Grocer has also learnt that Steve Murrells has left his post as ­commercial director of Tesco following a stint last year as Dobbies' integration director, after Tesco bought the garden centre chain.

Tesco said that Murrells had left after Christmas to pursue new business opportunities.

Meanwhile, City analysts warned that Sainsbury's head office losses, thought to number 250, were likely to be followed by a second round of redundancies to satisfy shareholders.

"Businesses get fat in a bull market," said one source. "Sainsbury's hasn't gone far enough. It had 3,500 head office staff in central London, whereas Morrisons manages with 1,800.

"It is horrible for the people involved and morale goes through the floor, but you need to save money. Tesco is making at least £550m savings this year - that is more than Sainsbury's is going to make in profits."

A Sainsbury's spokesman said that it would not be appropriate to comment until the three-month ­consultation period was over.