CINCINNATI/PRNewswire/ — The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR – news) today announced the Company’s Nashville division will be merged early next year into Kroger division offices located in Atlanta and Louisville. The decision is part of a strategic growth plan announced earlier today by Kroger’s corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Kroger’s Nashville division operates 85 stores in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama. As a result of the Nashville merger, the Louisville division will become the Mid-South division of Kroger. John Hackett, the Louisville division president, will lead the Mid-South division, which will continue to be located in Louisville, KY.
The Mid-South division will have a regional office in Nashville, which will ensure that local marketing and operating decisions will be kept close to the customer. Ron Spurlock, currently Vice President of Operations for the Nashville division, will become Vice President of the Mid-South division and will head the office in Nashville.
The Nashville division office currently employs approximately 200 people. Some Nashville associates will have an opportunity to transfer to the Kroger offices in Louisville or to other positions within the Company. For those who cannot, Kroger will provide a comprehensive and generous severance package based on years of service.
“We know this reduction in administrative staff will be very difficult for the associates involved,” said Tom Rech, president of the Nashville division. “We are proud of the outstanding service they have provided to our stores. We will communicate fully with them about their individual positions and treat everyone with fairness and respect.”
Following the merger, 55 of the Nashville division’s stores will become part of the new Mid-South division. The 30 stores in Huntsville, Alabama and Knoxville, Tennessee will become part of the Atlanta division, which is headed by Bruce Lucia.
“Kroger customers in all of the stores operated by the Nashville division will continue to see the same familiar faces in their neighborhood stores,” said Mr. Hackett. “Kroger’s commitment to these customers and their communities has not changed.”
“We look forward to welcoming the Huntsville and Knoxville managers and associates into the Atlanta division,” said Mr. Lucia. Both Mr. Hackett and Mr. Lucia will be touring stores and meeting customers and associates this week.
Kroger employs more than 10,000 people in the Nashville division stores. The merger of the division offices will not affect those employees. Kroger’s strong commitment to communities will continue. The Company contributed more than $2 million in 2000 to local schools, food banks, organizations and charities located in the Nashville division communities.
After the merger is completed, Kroger will operate 18 division offices. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kroger is one of the nation’s largest retail grocery chains. At the end of the third quarter, the Company operated 2,401 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 32 states under approximately two dozen banners, including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith’s, Fry’s and Fry’s Marketplace, Dillon, QFC and City Market. Kroger also operates 790 convenience stores, 426 fine jewelry stores, 177 supermarket fuel centers and 41 food processing plants.
SOURCE: The Kroger Co.