CGA Press Release: Three more grocery stores close due to costly “extra pay” mandates imposed in of Los Angeles – bringing total to five grocery store closures and counting

Contact: Nate Rose, Senior Director of Communications, CA Grocers Association [email protected]

Grocers, Latino Food Industry Workers, Latin Business Assn Blame Politicians for Costly new Regulations

Sacramento – Grocers and others in the food industry were saddened, but not surprised today at the news that three more grocery stores in Los Angeles County were closing because of the costly extra pay grocery store ordinances passed last week by both the City and County of Los Angeles.

Kroger, Inc., announced today that as a direct result of the $5/hour extra pay grocery mandate passed in both the City and County of Los Angeles, it was closing three more stores in Los Angeles County. Previously Kroger announced closure of a Ralphs and Food 4 Less in Long Beach after the Long Beach City Council passed an ordinance there.

“As we said weeks ago, extra pay ordinances will have negative consequences and harm customers and workers,” said Ron Fong, President & CEO, CA Grocers Association. “Three more store closures in Los Angeles County means workers there stand to lose their good-paying jobs with generous benefits. Customers lose access to a neighborhood grocery close by. It’s a lose-lose all the way around and it is the direct result of elected officials who are passing these unworkable and costly mandates.

In fact, an analysis by the Chief Legislative Analyst for the City of Los Angeles found that the city’s $5/hour extra pay mandate could result in various unintended consequences impacting workers and customers. The analysis said, “More pressure on struggling stores (especially independent grocers), which could lead to store closures” and that “The closures of stores could lead to an increase in “food deserts” that lack access to fresh groceries.”

Local politicians have ignored those warnings, passing costly ordinances that have now led to store closures and likely higher grocery costs for consumers who can least afford it, especially now.

Carlos Viramontes, Board Member, Latino Food Industry Association, said, “Our members deliver the produce, pack the meat and drive the trucks that deliver everything from food to paper goods to the grocery stores. When a store shuts down, especially in areas serving predominantly Latinos and people of color, our members lose business and their workers suffer. The politicians who are ignoring the warnings and passing these extra pay ordinances are putting hard working employees and working families at risk.”

Residents in many parts of Los Angeles County lack easy access to fresh food. These store closures will hit them hard.

“The fallout from the misguided extra pay ordinances is enormous and politicians are to blame,” said Ruben Guerra, Chairman & CEO, Latin Business Association. “Because of politicians’ support of the policies, regardless of the economic consequences of their actions, workers will lose jobs, and communities of color will be left with fewer grocery options and more food insecurity. Consumers in other areas where grocery stores are able to stay afloat will pay higher grocery bills.”