Kroger to lay off 1,500 employees, close 14 stores: reports

Kroger is set to lay off as many as 1,500 employees in the coming days as the grocery store chain sells all 14 of its store locations in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, according to multiple reports on Wednesday.

More than half of the workers affected by Kroger’s exit from the region are part-time employees, the Cincinnati-based chain said, though the total amount is unclear. Kroger said it will assist the employees with finding new employment.

“After a thorough evaluation of the market for a significant time period, we have decided to close out stores in the highly competitive Raleigh-Durham market,” Jerry Clontz, president of Kroger’s mid-Atlantic division, said in a statement obtained by The News & Observer in Raleigh. “While we have had some success, we have not been able to grow our business the way we would like in this market.”

Kroger has sale agreements in place for 10 of the stores and plans to sell all 14 locations. Eight of the stores will be sold to Harris Teeter, a regional grocery store chain owned by Kroger.

A Kroger representative did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for further comment on the situation.

Kroger and its subsidiaries employed nearly 500,000 workers in the U.S. as of fiscal 2017. The chain said in April it would boost its contribution to employee benefits by more than $130 million per year after the passage of tax reform. The company also announced plans to hire 11,000 new employees.