California Chains Trim Costs: Report

Southern California supermarket chains are reducing labor hours to cope with shrinking sales, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

LOS ANGELES — Southern California supermarket chains are reducing labor hours to cope with shrinking sales, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

The newspaper said Ralphs, a division of Kroger Co., Cincinnati, is demoting more than 140 meatcutters to clerks — cutting their pay by more than a third to $13.47 an hour. It also reported Vons, a division of Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., has laid off 97 workers and is reclassifying 171 full-time workers to part-time — a move that could reduce their wages by up to 40%, union officials noted in the story.

The paper said Minneapolis-based Supervalu planned to close four Albertsons stores in the region this week and five more next week. The store closings are part of Supervalu’s previously announced plan to close 50 locations this year. The Times also said Supervalu intends to convert at least three Albertsons stores in Southern California to the Lucky banner, which it uses at stores with more limited selections and services.

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