Albertsons to lay off up to 2,500 in Calif., Nev.

Albertsons was founded in 1939 and operates 445 Albertsons and Lucky supermarkets (AP Photo)Albertsons was founded in 1939 and operates 445 Albertsons and Lucky supermarkets (AP Photo)(AP) — Albertsons will lay off as many as 2,500 employees at 247 Southern California and southern Nevada supermarkets beginning June 17, the supermarket chain announced Wednesday.

Some employees will be laid off at every store and the layoffs should be finished by July 1. Representatives would not say if any stores would close or if there would be additional rounds of layoffs.

The company downsized in February at its Fullerton support center but the need for further changes was clear, Albertsons Southern California President Dan Sanders said in a statement. Albertsons suffered a decrease in customers and sales throughout the division and did not respond adequately to customer needs, he said.

The layoffs do not affect the chain's Intermountain West division or Albertsons' parent, SuperValu Inc., officials said. Albertsons is the largest retail chain in SuperValu's family of stores.

"A decision of this nature is never easy, but it is the necessary step for us to take to help improve our business and accelerate our turnaround," Sanders said.

Albertsons is working with the employee union, officials said.

The chain was founded in 1939 and operates 445 Albertsons and Lucky supermarkets in Southern California, southern Nevada, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

SuperValu Inc. has estimated annual sales of $35 billion. It has about 4,300 stores, which include 1,102 traditional retail stores with 797 in-store pharmacies; 1,332 hard-discount stores (935 are operated by licensee owners) and 1,900 independent stores serviced primarily by the company's traditional food distribution business.

SuperValu has approximately 130,000 employees.