Morrisons is understood to have put nearly 700 staff into consultation after it decided to implement automated cash-handling technology in its stores.

Morrisons is in consultation with 689 cash office managers and supervisors about a proposal to remove these roles in its 490 stores.

The cash-handling system is understood to be part of an ongoing programme to improve its competitiveness.

Despite the fact that a large proportion of customers now pay with cards, grocers still take huge amounts of cash every day.

Morrisons said the new technology will simplify the cash handling in stores’ back offices and mean its cash can be automatically counted.

The grocer will try to offer staff other positions in its stores where possible. A Morrisons spokesman said: “Morrisons will support its colleagues throughout this consultation process.”

Morrisons is under pressure from the City to improve its performance. The grocer is the laggard of the big four supermarkets. It is also in discussions with Ocado about a potential deal to license the online grocer’s technology ahead of launching food online.