STAFF at Morrisons stores in South Essex could be faced with losing their jobs after the supermarket giant announced it could axe 2,600 jobs.

A consultation was launched with staff at the stores in Grays, Hadleigh and Southend yesterday, which will discuss plans for a new management structure and some job cuts.

Cash-strapped Morrisons said its plans would lead to few layers of management.

Dalton Philips, Morrisons Chief Executive, said: “This is the right time to modernise the way our stores are managed. These changes will improve our focus on customers and lead to simpler, smarter ways of working.

“We know that moving to the new management structure will mean uncertainty for our colleagues and we will be supporting them through the process.”

Recently, the Bradford-based chain posted an annual loss of £176m in the year to February and recently announced a 7.1 per cent drop in quarterly sales.

But the firm also announced it would press on with plans to create 1,000 jobs in its M Local stores and a further 3,000 in its big stores, adding it would look to move current staff into these new roles where possible.

A new store is set to open in Pitsea in December.