Acme Markets will lay off 900 part-time workers in four states, including New Jersey, next month to cut costs, the supermarket chain announced Thursday.

The layoffs affect the newest employees who work about 12 to 16 hours per week, the company said.

Brian String, president of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 152 in Hammonton, said 53 employees from his union will be affected by the layoffs.

 

But the upcoming seasonal demands of Acme supermarkets along the New Jersey shore means those displaced employees will be offered jobs in those stores from May until the end of the summer season, he said.

"As far as where we are in the south, nobody is being affected in the summer season. They can't afford to lay off anybody," String said.

Acme spokesman Steve Sylven said in an email that some of Acme's impacted workers will have the opportunity to transfer to shore stores for the summer as their contracts allow, although not all contracts have that provision.

Acme has shore stores in Long Beach Township, Ocean County; in Wildwood, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Upper Township, Lower Township and Middle Township in Cape May County; and in Brigantine and Somers Point in Atlantic County, the company's Web site shows.

Acme, which is part of Minnesota-based Supervalue Inc., said in a statement the layoffs will be effective May 7. Employees were being notified Thursday and today.

Dan Sanders, president of Malvern, Pa.-based Acme Markets, said the layoffs were done to align the workforce with sales.

"Moving forward we will continue to execute our plan and look for ways to further strengthen our business and reduce costs with the simple, strategic goal of ensuring Acme's competitiveness and long-term survival," he said in a statement.

Acme is the latest in a series of supermarkets struggling of late, facing declining sales and changing customer habits in an intensely competitive industry.

In February, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., which operates under the SuperFresh brand, announced it was closing grocery stores in Hammonton and Cape May Court House. The Montvale, Bergen County-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December.

Contact Brian Ianieri:

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