Sainsbury’s has become the latest of the big four to announce a radical store shake-up that will lead to the loss of 800 jobs.

The retailer said it was reviewing department and deputy manager positions so it could invest more resources in other shop floor roles. It also wants to replace night shifts with early morning and evening shifts in some stores to improve availability.

The department and deputy manager shake-up followed “an extensive review which looked at how to better align resources to meet changing customer needs,” Sainsbury’s said.

“Reducing the number of department manager roles will give colleagues who serve customers on tills and restock the shelves the opportunity to extend their hours or take additional shifts,” it added in a statement. “This means more customer-facing colleagues will be on hand to offer service, with the right leadership and structures in place.”

Sainsbury’s added that consultation had also begun in more than 100 supermarkets about changes to the night shift. It wants to replace the night shift with early morning and evening shifts, with fewer deliveries. Changes had already been made in 33 stores last year, it said, which had “substantially improved availability and service for customers”.

It also stressed “redeployment opportunities” would be available for most impacted colleagues.

“These are exceptionally difficult decisions to make and we have not taken them lightly,” said Sainsbury’s retail and operations director Roger Burnley. “I recognise that this will be a challenging time for many of our colleagues and we will do everything we can to support them and help them move through this period of uncertainty as quickly as possible.

“We set out very clearly last year that we have to reflect the changes in when and how our customers are shopping. These proposals will help us maintain and improve customer service by having more colleagues on hand and well-replenished shelves at all times.

”The formal consultation starts today and, where possible, we hope colleagues will opt to move to other roles or stores. We expect the new structures to be in place later this year and as a result, we will be set up to work more effectively together to better serve our customers.”

The consultation comes just months after Sainsbury’s announced plans to cut 500 jobs at its Holborn, Manchester and Coventry offices. It also follows similar in-store shake-ups by rivals Tesco and Asda.