Updated: Supervalu cutting 1,100 jobs; 2 positions to be lost in Urbana, none in Champaign

Updated: Supervalu cutting 1,100 jobs; 2 positions to be lost in Urbana, none in Champaign

Updated 2:57 p.m. Tuesday.

URBANA — Supervalu will cut about 1,100 positions nationwide, the Minneapolis-based grocery wholesaler and retailer announced Tuesday.

Two positions will be eliminated at its Urbana distribution center, and no positions will be cut at the W. Newell & Son produce distribution center in Champaign, company spokesman Mike Siemienas said.

The Urbana distribution center serves independent stores — a segment of Supervalu’s business relatively unaffected by the company’s recent sale of five retail grocery chains.

Tuesday’s cutbacks were precipitated by the sale of those chains — Albertsons, Jewel, Acme, Shaws and Star Markets — and the smaller workforce Supervalu needs to support its remaining business.

The Urbana distribution center employs about 350, while the Champaign produce center employs about 125.

Nationally, Supervalu has about 35,000 positions, so the cuts amount to about 3 percent of those. About 10 percent of the 1,100 positions to be cut are open positions that will not be filled, Siemienas said.

Jobs to be eliminated are “primarily at corporate and store-support level offices,” Siemienas said.

In general, store-level employees and Save-A-Lot, the company’s hard-discount retain chain, won’t be affected by the cuts, a Supervalu release stated.

Jobs that will be eliminated at the distribution centers will be non-union positions, Siemienas said.

The final working dates for affected employees vary, based on the needs of the business and the areas they support, the company stated.

“The decision to reduce our workforce, although difficult because of the impacts to our people, is the necessary next step in the rebuilding of our business,” Supervalu CEO Sam Duncan said.

“The move is an important part of our strategy to be more focused and efficient in our operations, including how we staff and support our three business units going forward,” he said.

In addition to selling Albertsons, Jewel, Acme, Shaws and Star Markets, Supervalu sold its Sav-On and Osco in-store pharmacies.

As a result, the company requires “significantly fewer corporate and store-support roles and functions, making it important that the company restructure its operations and expenses accordingly,” the company stated.

Supervalu said the announcement affects nearly all company offices and crosses most departments in the organization.

Employees whose positions are eliminated will be offered severance and outplacement services based on Supervalu’s eligibility guidelines.

Supervalu has three key business units: Save-A-Lot, its regional retail stores, and a division that serves independent grocers.

Now that it’s smaller, the company expects to generate more than $17 billion in revenues annually — or slightly less than half the revenues it had before the sale of the five grocery chains.

Supervalu serves about 3,470 stores, including 1,950 independent stores, 1,331 Save-A-Lot stores and 191 traditional retail grocery stores.

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