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Supervalu to Close Pennsylvania Distribution Center

PITTSBURGH - Supervalu Inc. has said it will close one of its distribution centers in southwestern Pennsylvania by late summer to be more cost-efficient, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Business from the 700,000-square-foot Belle Vernon operation will be shifted to Supervalu's other distribution center in New Stanton, according to the newspaper. The move is expected to eliminate 300 jobs, leaving Supervalu with about 3,100 employees in the region between its own grocery stores and the surviving distribution center.

"While making any decision that affects employee jobs is difficult, we believe that this move will best serve Supervalu customers over the long term," said David Pearson, president of the wholesaler's central region, according to the newspaper.

Supervalu plans to put the Belle Vernon center up for sale, the newspaper reports.

The Minnesota-based wholesaler has been overhauling its distribution network for the past year, spurred in part by the loss of its once-largest customer, Kmart Corp.

"Our long-term objective is to be the low-cost provider to our client retailers," Supervalu spokesman Ray West told the newspaper.

Supervalu owns a number of Shop 'n Save stores, but also serves independently owned Foodlands, Shop 'n Saves, County Markets, among others. The two distribution centers in Western Pennsylvania supply more than 200 stores in Western Pennsylvania, Northern West Virginia and Eastern Ohio.

The company plans to use the 724,000-square-foot New Stanton site for fast-turning products, with items that may not sell as quickly being stored in a Harrisburg center, according to the newspaper.
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