MORRISONS have vowed to continue with two new supermarkets in Southampton, despite announcing more than 2,000 job losses.

The supermarket giant announced yesterday that 2,600 jobs will be axed as part of major restructuring.

But the company also confirmed the job losses would not have any impact on new stores at East Street and Centenary Quay, which are currently being built.

While 2,600 management posts are set to be scrapped, the firm says it will create 3,000 new jobs at supermarkets – with at least 600 of them coming in Southampton.

Work has now begun on the East Street store on the site of the former East Street Shopping Centre.

When it opens next year, the 60,000 sq ft supermarket will also feature a 286-space car park and create 400 jobs.

Construction work is also due to start on a new store as part of the £500million Centenary Quay development on the site of the former Vosper Thornycroft factory in Woolston.

The 60,000 sq ft store is due to open its doors next November, and will create at least 200 jobs.

Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts said: “The majority of the jobs created will hopefully go to local people.

“There’s been a demand in the city centre for an additional supermarket for some time, and I know the new store at Centenary Quay will be much welcome because people have to travel a distance for supermarkets there.”

Yesterday, the supermarket, which has 511 stores and 126,000 staff across the UK, announced proposals to scrap 2,600 management jobs.

Chief executive Dalton Philips said: Mr Philips said: “This is the right time to modernise the way our stores are managed. These changes will improve our focus on customers and lead to simpler, smarter ways of working.

“We know that moving to the new management structure will mean uncertainty for our colleagues and we will be supporting them through the process.”

The company has a supermarket in Spruce Drive, Totton, and staff there do not yet know whether they will be affected by the job cuts.