At least 3,500 jobs are now at risk across Sainsbury’s supermarket fresh produce counters and Argos stores.

The retailer said on Thursday that it is to permanently close its meat, fish and deli counters

According to the retailer, this development has occurred as a result of the pandemic which has hit demand, Evening Standard reports.

The company also revealed that it is not planning to re-open 120 Argos stores which have remained closed since the first lockdown in March.

Meanwhile, it was disclosed in its half-year statement that it would seek to find alternative roles for staff.

Another plan by Sainsbury is to also close another 300 of its 570 Argos stores over the next three-and-a-half years.

It is part of the retailer’s drive to open Argos within its supermarket network. It plans to open more than 200 new collection points as it closes stores.

“Whilst we will aim to find alternative roles for as many colleagues as possible, around 3,500 of our colleagues could lose their roles as a result of our proposals,” Sainsbury said in a statement.

In reaction to the development, Sainsbury’s new chief executive Simon Roberts, who took over in June, said: “We are talking to colleagues today about where the changes we are announcing in Argos standalone stores and food counters impact their roles.