If you shop at any of the three Albertsons stores located in and Laguna Niguel, you might not see your favorite employee since the company announced layoffs on Wednesday.
The Fullerton-based grocery store chain reports that it will cut the workforce by 2,200 to 2,500 positions, affecting all 247 California and Nevada stores.
located at 29941 Alicia Pkwy., was revamped extensively a few years ago, and the other Laguna Niguel location at 30241 Golden Lantern is a popular place for residents to shop.
On Wednesday afternoon the store was busy with customers.
"I always hate to hear about layoffs and I've been coming to this store for years," said Janet Windstrom, who was shopping for dinner. "Everyone is so helpful here from the baggers to the deli counter."
Another shopper, Geraldine Epstein, said she was also disappointed to hear about the layoffs. "I shop here and the location on Alicia and they did such a nice job updating that store. I will still continue to shop both stores."
"A decision of this nature is never easy, but it is the necessary step for us to take to help improve our business and accelerate our turnaround,'' said Dan Sanders, president of Albertsons' Fullerton-based Southern California Division in a statement. "Our goal is to more effectively serve the marketplace by scheduling associates more appropriately to serve customers at the times they shop,” he said. "I am confident our team will embrace these changes and help us to compete more effectively in a rapidly changing marketplace.''
The layoffs—which are set to begin June 17 and should be nearly completed near July 1—are "expected to directly impact a small number of positions at any specific store location,'' according to a company statement.
In February, the company reduced staff in its Fullerton store support center.
"While Albertsons' commitment to the neighborhoods it serves remains the same, the need for change at the company is clear,'' the company's statement says.
”Albertsons has not kept pace with the changing needs of its customers for a number of reasons. At the same time, while the division has experienced a reduction in traffic and an overall decline in sales, it has not made the necessary adjustments to its store-level operations.''
Albertsons executives pledged to work with the United Food and Commercial Workers union to "ensure a smooth transition for affected associates."
Albertsons, founded in 1939, is the largest retail chain in Minnesota-based SuperValu Inc.'s family of grocery stores, with 445 Albertsons and Lucky
stores in Southern California, Southern Nevada, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
—City News Service contributed to this story