The second largest supermarket and drugstore chain in the US, Albertson's Inc., is expected to announce toady that 165 underperforming stores will be shut down or sold and 15-20% of corporate and administrative staff will lose their jobs.

The restructuring initiative has come just two months after the appointment of Lawrence R. Johnston as CEO and chairman, and will affect outlets across 25 states.

The chain currently consists of 2,539 stores, employs 235,000 people and posted revenue last year of US$36.8bn. The restructure is expected to incur a non-recurring pre-tax charge of about US$585m, US$550m of which will be recorded in the second fiscal quarter of this year (ending 2 August).

The closures or sales of outlets, which represent about 6% of the group's total stores, are expected to generate a positive pre-tax cash flow of US$265m. This should enable Albertson's to reach revenue projections of US$38bn for 2001, an increase of US$1.2bn on last year's figures.