FINANCE

Saks to Cut Corporate Work Force

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Saks Inc. said on Thursday that it plans to reduce 1,100 corporate support and store positions, about 9% of total work force, as part of its effort to weather the deteriorating economic environment. The majority of job cuts will take effect by Jan. 30.

Saks estimates cash severance charges of around $9 million, mostly in the fourth quarter.

It also plans to eliminate merit-based wage increases for 2009 for all staff and suspend company’s matching contributions to 401(k) plan for one year.

Saks Inc. also announced on Thursday a series of actions related to expenses, capital spending, and inventory receipts.

“The cost and capital expenditure reductions are structured to minimize the impact on our customers, and the reduction in inventory receipts is reflective of the decrease in consumer demand,” said chairman and CEO Steve Sadove.

He added that the actions are aimed to benefit the future of the company once the economic conditions improve.

“We continue, however, to focus on and make targeted investments in our strategic merchandising, marketing, and selling initiatives,” Sadove said.

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Walgreens launches employer-centric health program

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens announced that it is launching an employer centric pharmacy, health and wellness program designed to reduce health care and prescription costs for employers across the country.

The program, called Complete Care and Well-Being, is a new and unique approach to health care that brings together pharmacy, health and wellness services under a single program, with all prices transparent to the employer. It represents a fundamental change to the delivery of health care services for employers, their employees, dependents and retirees.

The program is offered through Take Care Health Systems, a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest provider of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics in the country. Complete Care and Well-Being combines worksite health centers, in-store clinics and pharmacies with a discount prescription drug offering that is available nationally to a company’s employees, dependents and retirees no matter where they work or live. In addition, beneficiaries under the plan receive a 15 percent savings on all Walgreens brand store products.

“Over the past two years, we built and assembled the services necessary to offer a unique solution to rising pharmacy and health care costs,” said Walgreens president Greg Wasson. “Unlike most health care reform options, Walgreens Complete Care and Well-Being program will address both controlling costs and improving access to quality care. It also delivers on the promise of reform in a way that sets us apart from other solutions and provides value for employers and payers of all types.”

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Fresh & Easy to add 200 jobs in next two months

BY CSA STAFF

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market announced it will create 200 jobs over the next two months as the company continues to expand in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. Fresh & Easy created nearly 3,000 jobs in 2008.

“We are thrilled to continue to create quality, local jobs with tremendous opportunity for advancement,” said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. “We know people are looking for jobs with good pay and comprehensive benefits and we are proud to be part of the solution.”

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