Swedish supermarket chain ICA has started negotiations to shut down two of its warehouses in Umeå and Årsta with the loss of 320 jobs.

ICA, which is part owned by Ahold, said it is continuing its work on a long-term infrastructure plan aimed at "fewer but larger" warehouses.

The closures will mean "lower costs, improved long-term service to stores and customers, together with reduced environmental impact", the Maxi operator said.

The warehouses in Umeå and Årsta are ICA's two smallest in terms of size and volume, the company said. Other distribution units, which currently have unutilized capacity, can be put to "more effective use" following the restructuring.

"ICA established a long-term infrastructure plan back in 2003, and the changes we are now making are fully in line with this. In order to provide our stores with goods, we need efficient logistics, which we will better achieve going forward. In this way, we will increase efficiency, sustainability and quality in our entire logistics system," said Anders Svensson, CEO of ICA Sweden.

The shutdown will effect 130 jobs in Umeå and 190 in Årsta. New positions are expected to be added at other warehouses, primarily in Västerås and Kallhäll, but also in Borlänge.