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Supervalu To Cut 800 Office Jobs By Feb 25 In Turnaround Effort

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Supervalu Inc. (SVU) plans to eliminate about 800 corporate and regional office jobs by Feb. 25 as the supermarket operator continues its efforts to reduce overall operating costs. The company currently has about 135,000 employees and said the reductions will include both current positions and open jobs that won't be filled. Supervalu, whose brands include Albertsons, Save-A-Lot and Shaw's, has struggled with rising food costs and competition from lower-price rivals such as Kroger Co. (KR) and Safeway Inc. (SWY). Hoping to reverse persistent same-store sales declines, the company has been cutting costs and lowering grocery prices. "These reductions are necessary to help further strengthen and accelerate Supervalu's business turnaround in a very competitive marketplace," said Chief Executive and President Craig Herkert. Supervalu reported last month its fiscal third-quarter loss widened on larger writedowns and weaker sales, causing the company to lower its fiscal 2012 guidance for the second quarter in a row. And later that month, Fitch Ratings downgraded Supervalu's issuer default rating to B, one notch further into junk territory, citing the supermarket operator's continued sales declines, market share losses and pressured margins. -By Melodie Warner, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2283;

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