Supermarket-chain owner Kroger said it will close three stores in Los Angeles in response to new rules requiring a $5-per-hour pay bump for grocery workers during the pandemic, the latest round of closures it has announced since “hero pay” mandates emerged earlier this year.
Two Ralphs, one on West Pico Boulevard and one on West Slauson Avenue, as well as a Food 4 Less on West Sunset Boulevard, are slated for closure on May 15, Kroger said in a statement Wednesday. The company called the three stores “underperforming” and said the new L.A. city-ordered pay boosts sped up the decision to shut them down.
The Kroger announcement comes as businesses continue to argue, some in court, that the extra pay is too costly to sustain and that the ordinance unfairly singles out grocers when there are other businesses employing front-line workers. The L.A. City Council voted 14 to 1 on Feb. 24 to require larger grocery stores and drugstores to boost their workers’ pay by $5 an hour for the next four months.
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