By Bill Kirk firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — The Shaw’s supermarket chain announced yesterday it is laying off 700 of its 17,000 employees who work in 169 stores in New England.
Employees were notified yesterday and today about the reductions in force, said Steve Sylven, a spokesman for the chain. He said the company is not providing the number of employees being let go in each store.
While there are no Shaw’s stores in the Merrimack Valley, there are four in Southern New Hampshire, including Salem, Plaistow, Windham and Derry.
The manager at the Salem store referred all comment to Sylven. Several store employees who were asked about the layoffs by The Eagle-Tribune yesterday afternoon said they didn’t know anything about them.
Sylven said the layoffs do not affect the Methuen distribution center, but affect mostly clerks and cashiers in both union and non-union positions. He said management positions were not affected by the layoffs.
“A decision of this nature is never easy, but after careful evaluation, it is unfortunately the necessary step for us to take to help improve our business, reduce expenses and reinvest in more customer-facing initiatives,” said Mike Stigers, president of Shaw’s, in a statement released yesterday morning. “As we continue to look at the best ways to achieve success, we recognized an opportunity to align our workforce to more effectively serve the marketplace by scheduling team members more appropriately to serve customers at the times they shop. These changes will help us to compete more effectively in a rapidly changing marketplace.”
Sylven said the decision was “born out of the fact we are operating in a competitive landscape and challenging economic environment. That necessitated us to remove costs from our business.”
He said the layoffs would be effective immediately and will occur across 169 Shaw’s and Star Market stores in New England.
Approximately 90 associates affected by the layoffs have already been informed of their status and the remaining 610 will be informed during the next several days.
Shaw’s, Osco and Star Market are part of the nationwide Supervalu Inc. family of grocery stores. Shaw’s is one of the oldest continuously operated supermarkets in the United States with its roots dating to 1860. Throughout five New England states, there are 169 store locations employing approximately 17,000 associates.