Morrisons has revealed that the roll-out of new cash handling technology, the supermarket chain's latest IT drive to improve operations and efficiency, will put almost 700 jobs at risk.

Morrisons is the fourth largest supermarket in the UK, but has been reluctant to implement the latest retail technology, having only just announced that it will move to online shopping – despite its main competitors having offered the service for a number of years.

However, the supermarket recently said that its IT systems replacement programme was “on track” and that it would provide the “foundation for accelerated cost savings in 2013-14”.

Its year end results, which were posted in March, showed a like-for-like sales drop of 2.1% – underlying pre-tax profits also slumped 4%.

Morrisons has now said that it is introducing new cash-handling systems and technology which will ‘improve the efficiency of cash office operations’ in its 490 stores. It added that the new technology is part of the ongoing technology upgrade programme to ensure Morrisons ‘continues to improve its competitiveness’.

However, the roll-out has meant that the supermarket has launched a consultation with 689 office managers and supervisors about a proposal to remove management and supervisory positions in cash offices in stores.

A spokesperson for the supermarket said that “Morrisons will support its colleagues throughout this consultation process”.

Earlier this year it was also revealed that companies supplying goods to Morrisons faced delays to payments, following problems caused by a systems upgrade.

One supplier stated it should usually receive payment within a 30-day period, but had waited 45 days.