Kroger offers early retirement to 2,000 corporate employees

About 650 local employees affected
Kroger offers early retirement to 2,000 corporate employees
Posted at 8:31 PM, Dec 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-16 09:49:13-05

CINCINNATI -- Kroger is offering early retirement to about 2,000 employees as a cost-saving strategy, the company announced Thursday.

The offer for voluntary early retirement is only for select corporate employees, and not staff from its 2,796 stores, according to the announcement. The offer was also not given to district associates, senior officers or supermarket division presidents.

The eligible employees have until March to decide if they'll take the deal. Kroger didn't estimate how much money it would save in the announcement.

Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said any savings would allow the company "to invest in the areas that matter most to our customers."

"Kroger would not be the successful company it is today without the incredible efforts of all of our associates. We believe a generous Voluntary Retirement Offering is in line with our company values and recognizes the long careers many of our associates have had with Kroger," McMullen said.

It's the first time since 2001 that Kroger has trimmed its management staff. It comes just a few weeks after the company told Wall Street analysts to expect slower sales growth and reduced profits for the next six to nine months.

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But now, the company is offering buyouts to administrative and management employees who meet “certain age and years of service” restrictions as of Dec. 1. It’s not clear how much the buyouts will save the company in expenses, or how much they'll cost in severance packages. Kroger expects to reveal more details when the offer ends in March.

Kroger spokesman Keith Dailey said about 650 people who now work Downtown or in Blue Ash are eligible for the offer, which the company has limited to exclude employees “who are closest to out customers, such as store and district management and certain plant, distribution center and manufacturing roles.”

The offer does not apply to senior management employees and district presidents.