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Atkins Nutritionals Initiates Layoffs, Hires Turnaround Agency

NEW YORK - In what appears to be more evidence that the low carbohydrate diet trend is cooling, Atkins Nutritionals Inc., which bears the name of its founder -- the late Dr. Robert Atkins -- who is credited with pioneering the low-carb diet phenomenon, is laying off workers. The company also announced on Monday it has hired crisis management firm AlixPartners LLC to help with its finances and the management of its supply chain.

"There has been a huge explosion of low-carb products from manufacturers of every conceivable size," said Atkins spokesman Richard Rothstein in a statement. "We are dealing with a very different marketplace than existed a year ago."

Rothstein declined to say how many of the Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based, privately-held company's 370 employees would lose their jobs, but said the layoff process began last week and would be "resolved shortly."

Also as part of its restructuring, Atkins said it was downsizing a Long Island distribution facility in favor of centers in Atlanta, Denver, and Chicago.

AlixPartners has also advised discount retailer Kmart Holding Corp. and the U.S. businesses of bankrupt Italian dairy group Parmalat SpA.

Atkins Nutritionals was founded by Atkins diet creator Dr. Robert Atkins in 1989.
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