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Fleming to Close Oklahoma City Center, Dallas GM Center

TULSA, Okla. - Fleming Cos. said Tuesday it will close its Oklahoma City distribution center by late summer, and move most of the plant's operations to a new center in Tulsa, The Associated Press reports. About 280 jobs will be cut as a result.

The Lewisville, Texas-based distributor also said it will close a general merchandise distribution center in Dallas, which will cut about 85 jobs. Its operations will be consolidated primarily in Topeka, Kan., and some in Memphis, Tenn.

Fleming, which has been struggling since the bankruptcy of its biggest customer, Kmart Corp., said the moves will reduce operating costs and improve productivity.

All laid-off employees will be able to apply for jobs elsewhere within the company, including at the new center in Tulsa, which is being acquired from Albertson's grocery stores, spokesman Randy Hatcher told the AP. The Tulsa center will now distribute food to 28 Albertson's stores in Oklahoma, he added.

Some of the operations from the Oklahoma City plant, which distributed food primarily in the Southwest, will transfer to a Fleming center in Garland, Texas.

Fleming will retain its 1,000-employee shared service center in Oklahoma City, Hatcher said. The center employs mostly accounting, information technology and advertising personnel.

Fleming on Tuesday reported earnings of $24.6 million, or 52 cents a share, for the quarter ended April 20, compared with $12 million, or 29 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales in the latest period rose 13 percent to $4.69 billion from $4.14 billion.
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