Safeway has enlisted former Olympic gold medallist Adrian Moorhouse to motivate staff as they prepare for a merger with Morrisons.
Moorhouse, who took gold in the 100m breaststroke final in Seoul in 1988, has coached the Safeway board and senior management on leadership skills and how to remain positive during the change.
Moorhouse set up his Lane4 consultancy in 1995, and was brought in by Safeway last year to draw up a two-day programme to help managers motivate staff.
Moorhouse said: 'It's quick and easy skills that they can take back to their teams, and work with people to see the merger as an opportunity.'
Safeway head of learning and development Rebecca Ivers said: 'We need to retain business performance and keep people motivated, so we need our leaders to be equipped with skills to cope with the change.'
To date, 1,150 Safeway staff have been on the programme. Ivers said that labour turnover in stores was down 9 per cent over the past two quarters.
Separately, Morrisons is expected to invest about£300 million in cutting prices in Safeway stores, according to estimates from Citigroup Smith Barney analysts. Morrisons refused to comment.