Supervalu Inc's New England grocery chain, Shaw, has announced plans to reduce its workforce by 700.

The cuts will be made at store-level, the company said today (2 November), and will occur across 169 Shaw's and Star Market stores in New England. The reductions will be finalised by 3 November, it said.

"A decision of this nature is never easy, but after careful evaluation, it is unfortunately the necessary step for us to take to help improve our business, reduce expenses and reinvest in more customer-facing initiatives," said Shaw president Mike Stigers.

"As we continue to look at the best ways to achieve success, we recognised an opportunity to align our workforce to more effectively serve the marketplace by scheduling team members more appropriately to serve customers at the times they shop. These changes will help us to compete more effectively in a rapidly changing marketplace."

Around 90 employees affected by the lay-offs have already been informed, with the remainder to be informed during the next several days.

Last month, Supervalu indicated it was exploring the possible the sale of unspecified parts of its business as it looks to return to profitable growth.

Supervalu has been dogged by falling sales and profitability for its last three full financial years and in October the retailer confirmed the trend was continuing when it booked accelerating second-quarter losses.