retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Seattle Times reports that Haggen - which has been laying off employees and cutting back hours in the new markets where it recently has acquired stores - now "is making major cuts to worker hours at several Seattle area stores it took over from Albertsons and Safeway earlier this year."

The Seattle market, of course, is one where Haggen has marginally better name recognition than in California, Arizona and Nevada, where it added 146 stores to its 18-unit fleet when it acquired supermarkets that had to be divested because of the Albertsons acquisition of Safeway. The company has been making cuts to compensate for the fact that traffic and sales are considerably below projections and its stores have been unable to get much traction in the new markets.

According to the story, "A Haggen employee in one Seattle area store told the Seattle Times that the company reduced total worker hours in that store by over 500 hours per week — down about a fifth from the usual pace, meaning less pay for many employees."

A Haggen spokesperson said that worker hours “have been adjusted to accommodate the natural seasonal summer slowdown,” and could be increased “as sales return in the upcoming back-to-school and holiday seasons.”
KC's View:
I guess we're now at the point where it no longer is "Haggen," but "Troubled Haggen" in headlines...

I got an email yesterday from an MNB reader who wrote in about the story saying that Haggen had also begun laying off developmentally disabled workers. (While I recognize that Haggen was laying a lot of people off, I suggested that this move reflects a certain community tone-deafness that could haunt the company's prospects.)

While if true your comments about Haggen laying off disabled workers is justified, don’t you think it’s time to give Haggen a break and stop piling on?

Here’s a company that virtually overnight goes from 18 stores to 164, with an infrastructure to support 18 stores and contractual guidelines on when the newly acquired stores need to be converted…A massive and even perhaps impossible task for any organization.

Yes, there were some missteps, but given the enormity of the task across many fronts, perhaps looking for the positive (and there is positive) while not compromising your principles on reporting the less than positive would be appropriate.


And those positives would be...?

While I appreciate your optimism, I have to say that I think your use of the word "missteps" maybe understates the situation a little bit. While you are right that management took on an impossible task, don't you think that maybe savvy leaders should have known that it was impossible? Because their miscalculation may end costing a lot of people their livelihoods.

And what do you mean, "if true"?