The retailer is consulting with staff over plans that will see a number of senior in-store posts slimmed down and replaced by fewer management roles.
Affected staff, thought to run into the thousands, will be given the choice of applying for the new roles, accept a more junior position or face redundancy consultation.
Sainsbury’s said the changes are “designed to meet the challenges of today’s retail environment” and will result in more “efficient” structure.
Simon Roberts, retail and operations director of Sainsbury’s, said: “We’re proposing a store management structure that will deliver best in class leadership and, in many cases, will offer an improved reward package for new management roles.
“The proposals will introduce a more efficient and effective structure, designed to meet the challenges of today’s retail environment. They will deliver cost savings to be invested in our customer offer and in our colleagues as they continue to provide the very best service for our customers.
“Our intention is not to reduce overall headcount as a result of these proposals.
“I appreciate this will be a difficult time for those affected and we will fully support our people through these changes.”