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Kroger Shuts Down More Stores

Specialty Food Association

Kroger is shutting down two additional Ralphs and one more Food 4 Less store in Los Angeles due to a new city mandate that requires hazard pay for frontline workers, reports Progressive Grocer. According to a statement from Kroger, the mandate will add an additional $20 million in operating costs over the next 120 days, making it financially unsustainable.

“Ralphs and Food 4 Less provide affordable, fresh groceries, and good and stable jobs with growth opportunities to thousands of Los Angeles residents, and proudly supports local community organizations across the city. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles City Council disregarded their own Economic Impact Report by not considering that grocery stores — even in a pandemic — operate on razor-thin profit margins in a very competitive landscape. It’s never our desire to close a store, but when you factor in the increased costs of operating during COVID-19, consistent financial losses at these three locations, it becomes impossible to operate these three stores,” said a Kroger company spokesperson.

Earlier this year, Kroger shut down two Seattle Quality Food Centers locations, as well as two Long Beach Ralphs locations and one Long Beach Food 4 Less location, due to similar pay mandates.

The company spokesperson added that Kroger is focusing on vaccinating employees as quickly as possible.

“We are focused on and stand ready to work with state and local governments to prioritize vaccine distribution to front-line workers, like our associates. This week in Los Angeles we are hosting three vaccine clinics for associates, with additional events to be hosted in the following weeks. Prioritizing vaccinations—not arbitrary mandates for extra pay—is what will keep front-line workers protected,” they said. Full Story

Related: Kroger Provides Aid to TexansThe Kroger Co. Shuts Down Locations.