Unions at Intermarche estimate that between 1,000 and 1,500 jobs could be under threat as a result of a rationalisation programme being planned by the French supermarket chain in order to improve productivity.

The chain employs around 9,800 staff.

The programme, to be implemented over the period 2006-2010, is thought to entail a radical restructuring of Intermarche's logistics organisation which encompasses a network of around 40 distribution centres. Posts could also be reduced in administration and management.

The prospect of cutbacks at Intermarche follows the news recently that Carrefour is planning to cut 1,700 jobs at its head offices in France in order to remain competitive.