A sign telling staff of a Bay of Plenty supermarket that "only English is to be spoken" at work has caused a stir online.

A photo of the sign, put up by management, left people outraged when it was shared on a Papamoa social media page, according to SunLive.

The sign warned staff that the Foodstuffs owned supermarket was an "English only zone" and that "only English language is to be spoken" in the staffroom, storeroom and on the shop floor.

Foodstuffs North Island general manager of retail Doug Cochrane said like many organisations, the company now "have a huge diversity and cultural mix in our stores".

"Sometimes this can lead to communication issues.

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"A sign was put up in an attempt to ask staff to communicate in a common language that everyone understands. Unfortunately the wording on the sign did not convey the true intention or sentiment and was removed immediately.

"The store team is working through better ways to deal with these sorts of issues."

Foodstuffs brands include New World, Pak'nSave and Four Square. It is not known which supermarket put up the notice.