The UK’s biggest supermarkets have been trying to cut costs after losing market share to discount grocers Aldi and Lidl and incurring higher costs on imports and the minimum wage.
Sainsbury’s hopes to save £500mln over the next three years as part of its plans to streamline its business.
The supermarket which has more than 1,400 stores in the UK, did not specify the number of jobs cuts but said it would be in the thousands.
The positions will be replaced by fewer, but mostly higher paid, new management roles.
Affected employees will have the option of applying for the new management roles or accepting a more junior position if unsuccessful.
"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,” said Simon Roberts, retail and operations director of Sainsbury's.
"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.”
Shares were little changed at 258p around noon.