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Kronos Retail Labor Index shows dramatic increase in last-minute holiday hiring

BY CSA STAFF

Chelmsford, Mass. — Kronos announced the December release of the Kronos Retail Labor Index, analyzing the relationship between the demand and supply sides of the labor market within the U.S. retail sector.

The December report, which includes data for November 2010, showed that the Index increased significantly to 3.8%, a 28% increase over last month’s figure of 3.0%. (A level of 3.0% means that for every 100 applications received, three hirings occurred.)

The retailers representing 27,034 distributed locations across the U.S. that make up the Kronos data sample recorded 56,028 hirings (on a seasonally adjusted basis) in November, a dramatic 77.5% increase over the October 2010 seasonally adjusted figure of 31,569. This was also a 9.8% increase over the 51,037 hirings that occurred in November 2009.

The supply of applications was also up significantly, reaching a seasonally adjusted level of 1,457,264 in November. The November figure represented a 38.4% increase over the 1,052,765 applications processed in October 2010.

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Report: A&P to be considering bankruptcy

BY CSA STAFF

Montvale, N.J. — A report Friday said that Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. may file for bankruptcy in the coming days to restructure debt.

Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported that a filing to reorganize under court protection may come as soon as this weekend. A&P hired law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP to represent it in negotiations with creditors and in any Chapter 11 proceeding, according to the report.

The grocer has struggled to compete with discounters such as Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores, and has dropped its store counts over the decades from a once-high almost 16,000 stores in the 1930s to about 400 locations under its namesake banner as well as SuperFresh and Food Emporium. Its most recently quarterly report, representing the 13 weeks ended Sept. 11, showed a 7.1% drop in sales and losses doubling to $153.7 million.

CEO Sam Martin was hired away from OfficeMax in July to help lead a turnaround, replacing then-CEO Ron Marshall.

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TJX to close A.J. Wright banner, cut 4,400 jobs

BY CSA STAFF

Framingham, Mass. — TJX Cos. said Friday it will close its A.J. Wright discount stores by mid-February, cutting 4,400 jobs. The move comes as the company’s T.J. Maxx and Marshalls chains have become better at attracting the lower-income customers that A.J. Wright targeted.

Ninety-one A.J. Wright stores will be converted into T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods stores, and 71 stores and two DC’s will close entirely. About 3,400 employees will keep their jobs and another 4,400 – half part-time and half full-time – will be cut.

TJX said the move allows the company to focus on its more profitable businesses.

"Over the past two years, we’ve learned how to better serve the A.J. Wright customer demographic with T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s," said CEO Carol Meyrowitz.

All 162 A.J. Wright stores will close by mid-February. The 91 will reopen under a different name after eight weeks.

TJX operates 924 T.J. Maxx stores, 832 Marshalls and 36 HomeGoods in addition to the 162 A.J. Wright stores. It will cost $150 million to $170 million to close the stores, and $12 million to $15 million for the store conversions.

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