Supermarket giant Winn-Dixie announced plans to close 45 unprofitable or poorly located stores over the next year and put another 111 up for sale. The decision, which involves eliminating 10,000 jobs, comes as the chain, based in Jacksonville, Fla., struggles to boost its slumping business. The company, with 922 stores, mostly in the Southeast and Midwest, faces stiff competition from Wal-Mart. Eighty percent of Winn-Dixie stores are within 10 miles of Wal-Mart Supercenters.
Another 3,000 jobs will be cut by Dow Chemical Co., on top of the 3,500 eliminated last year, the company said. The layoffs will come by year's end through reorganizations, attrition, shutdowns, and divestitures. The company, based in Midland, Mich., has seen profits rise recently but its results were dismal in 2002 because of merger- and asbestos-related costs.
Riggs Bank, the largest in the Washington area, said it expects federal regulators to impose substantial civil fines for alleged violations of money-laundering laws. Riggs, which is heavily involved with the capital's diplomatic community, is cutting back overseas operations in a move one consultant called a possible prelude to the sale of the company. Regulators and the FBI have been investigating large cash transactions in accounts controlled by Saudi diplomats for possible connections to terrorism financing. Riggs has $7 billion in assets.
Normal operations are expected to resume Monday for Alitalia, Italy's national airline, following the cancellation of hundreds of flights since the middle of last week. As of Friday, the carrier was estimating its losses as high as $48 million due to an illegal strike by unionized employees. The strikers, who ignored both a government order and a call by their union leaders to return to the job, have been protesting plans to lay off 3,300 people in a restructuring campaign. Alitalia has not posted an operating profit in six years. It hopes to join the merger of two other major European airlines, Air France and KLM of the Netherlands, but they have discouraged such talk until it stabilizes its balance sheet.