Kroger employees offered early retirement

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Grocer Kroger Co.is offering early retirement to 2,000 corporate employees, in an effort to cut costs amid stiff competition from more stores and online merchants stocking food.

"Kroger would not be the successful company it is today without the incredible efforts of all of our associates". "Kroger is committed to our operating model of lowering costs to invest in the areas that matter most to our customers".

The company specified that the expenses related to the offer will be reflected in its first quarter 2017 results.

Bill Kirk, an analyst at RBC Capital, in a research note Thursday said the move would not likely have a material impact on Kroger, which employs some 431,000 workers in the US, but was indicative of the hard operating environment.

The Cincinnati-based company, with 431,000 employees across operations that include 2,800 stores, said it doesn't plan to fill the vacant roles. Kroger released a statement Thursday saying that the new retirement option is part of a strategy to implement cost controls behind the scenes in ways that do not directly affect customers.

The Voluntary Retirement Offering mainly includes administrative associates, and will not include store and district associates, senior officers, and supermarket division presidents.