Competition the Culprit Behind 70 Staff Cuts at Larry's Markets

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- A fresh foods legend has fallen on hard times severe enough to call for drastic cuts and spur rumors of an imminent demise. Intense competition has forced Larry's Markets to cut its corporate staff by 70 percent, and to bring in outside help to run the operations for the retailer's six stores.

According to published reports, the job of running the company now belongs to the unidentified consultant who helped develop the strategy behind the downsizing. While additional cuts are likely, c.e.o. Mark McKinney said there are no plans to close any of Larry's stores in Seattle, Bellevue, Tukwila, Kirkland and Redmond. Still, local reports alluded to speculation that Larry's current efforts to restructure are not assured to save the company.

The chain, once a pioneer in upscale fresh and fresh prepared foods merchandising, has come under siege in recent years by competitors that include Costco, Wal-Mart, and Whole Foods Market, which has two stores in Larry's Markets trade areas and plans to open two more stores in Redmond and South Lake Union, not far from the Queen Anne Larry's.

Larry's reorganization, which is scheduled to end this summer, will also focus on improving inventory management and communications from the stores.
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