Citing pressures of deflating food prices among other factors, Giant Eagle said this week it was offering voluntary buyouts to a number of its head office employees.
Local reports Tuesday said the Pittsburgh-based retailer was anticipating cutting about 1% of its total workforce or about 340 employees at its home office.
"Like many food retailers regionally and nationally, Giant Eagle has recently been impacted by various industry factors, including but not limited to deflationary trends in food pricing," the company said in a statement. "As a result, the company is undertaking numerous actions to ensure that we continue to deliver our customers the best possible value in an increasingly competitive retail environment.
"In accordance with this strategy, and with a commitment to maintaining the high quality shopping experience our customers have come to expect from Giant Eagle, the company has realized a need to maximize cost efficiencies, reduce overhead costs, and streamline our supply chain."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday that grocery prices were down by 2.2% from last September, the largest such decrease since December of 2009, with all six major grocery categories down from last year. The Consumer Price Index for food-at-home has been deflationary for 10 months, surpassing in duration the round of deflation accompanying the 2009 recession.
Giant Eagle said that employees that choose to take advantage of the voluntary separation opportunity will receive a fair and equitable severance package, and outplacement assistance. "Although these actions are difficult to undertake, they are done so to ensure a successful working environment for Giant Eagle’s 34,000 Team Members across our more than 420 retail locations," the company added.