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Tops Cuts 400 Jobs in NE Ohio as Part of Operational Overhaul

Buffalo, N.Y. -- Tops Markets, LLC says it will close three stores and change some services that will result in the elimination of about 400 jobs in northeast Ohio. The recently announced staff reductions follow the elimination of six stores and 390 jobs in the market, which was announced in January.

The Ahold subsidiary said it's opting not to renew the leases on two small, aging facilities, one in Solon and the other on Clark Ave. in the Cleveland. Closing dates have yet to be determined for the two stores.

As part of a series of operational changes designed to strengthen Tops' position in the Northeast Ohio market, the chain has finalized plans to convert to a new case-ready meat program in all 49 of its Ohio stores. Discussions surrounding the transition have taken place over the past several weeks with Local 880.

Tops said it will also move to a more efficient process in its bakeries as the result of a new contract with local Orlando Bakery.

The three major changes will result in the elimination of about 400 positions. Both the meat and bakery initiatives will be rolled out within the next few weeks.

In addition, Dennis Hanley has been appointed new regional v.p. for Ahold's Northeast Ohio region. Hanley comes to Tops with an extensive background in retail, having previously worked as a consultant or directly for Safeway, Kash 'n Karry Food Stores, Super Kmart, Farm Fresh, and Winn-Dixie.

"It is essential for Tops to change processes and capitalize on efficiencies in order to remain competitive in the market," said Hanley. "While some of the steps we take are painful in the short term, they will help us to preserve jobs and grow our business in the future."
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