Fleming Cuts 800 Jobs, 5 Wholesale Units

DALLAS - Bankrupt food distributor Fleming Cos. Inc. on Thursday said it will shut down five wholesale divisions, resulting in the elimination of 800 jobs, or roughly 7 percent of its work force.

Fleming said the closures, set to take place by mid-June, will include a general merchandise distribution center in King of Prussia, Pa. and grocery wholesale divisions in Phoenix; Salt Lake City; Warsaw, N.C.; and Northeast, Md.

"While the decision to exit any market is difficult, it makes excellent sense for us to scrutinize our operations and concentrate our human and financial resources on those business units and markets in which performance is highest and opportunities are greatest," said president and CEO of Wholesale Distribution Bill May. "The previously announced loss of business at these divisions and their limited growth opportunities has made it impossible for us to continue in these markets as a core part of Fleming operations. After careful study and consideration, it was decided to take this necessary action to advance our restructuring, which is important to our company and our aggregate customer base.

"To minimize disruption to our customers supplied by the closing divisions, we are committed to assisting the affected retail customers in their successful transfer to a new supplier, as practicable," he added.

The company's convenience distribution centers are unaffected by the closing of these five wholesale divisions.

Fleming is also reviewing options for its Minneapolis division, which solely supplies Fleming's Rainbow Foods stores in the area. The company previously filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to put 31 of the stores up for auction.

Fleming also announced the opening of a new convenience division in Denver, which replaces a previous facility destroyed by a fire in late 2002. Since then, other Fleming units in neighboring service areas have been dividing business formerly handled from Denver.

The Denver division's official grand opening celebration is scheduled for May 16.
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