RICHMOND, Va. — Performance Food Group (PFG) Co., the parent company of convenience-store distributor Eby-Brown Co., Naperville, Ill., has furloughed or eliminated 3,500 positions across the organization—500 more than reported on April 13—to protect its long-term financial position amid the coronavirus pandemic, the company said in its third-quarter and first nine months fiscal 2020 earnings report.
PFG employed about 15,000 individuals as of 2019, according to Fortune. These layoffs represent nearly a quarter of the company’s workforce.
PFG did not clarify which divisions were hit the hardest; however, the company said last year’s acquisition of Eby-Brown had put it “in a strong position in the convenience-store channel” up until this point.
Eby-Brown declined a CSP Daily News request for comment.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unique challenges to our industry and company, and I am very proud of how our associates have responded,” said George Holm, chairman, president and CEO of PFG. “PFG is committed to keeping our associates safe and taking actions to support the customers and communities we serve while positioning our business to weather today’s environment and emerge on a strong financial and business footing.”
PFG has also deferred 25% of its senior management's base compensation and 25% of its board of directors' cash fees through the end of 2020 or at such time as approved by the compensation committee. The company has reduced all capital expenditures during this time. Moreover, PFG has reduced the operating hours at its distribution centers because many of its customers—ranging from c-stores and restaurants to schools and hotels—have reduced or discontinued their own operations. This is expected to continue moving forward, the company said.
“We have raised additional capital in both the equity and debt markets to fortify our balance sheet,” Holm said. “Our confidence in our current liquidity position allows us to focus our attention on helping our customers and improving our market position for the long term. This is supported by our acquisition of Eby-Brown last year, which puts us in a strong position in the convenience store channel, and the integration of Reinhart, which has continued to progress nicely.”
Besides the long-term financial initiatives, PFG has taken a variety of actions to support its customers and communities during the pandemic. The company has signed agreements with 25 retail partners and shared associates to help keep supermarkets stocked with food and has distributed groceries to approximately 1,275 locations. Additionally, it has produced a webinar series that offers insights on liquidity, employee management and business strategy. Also, PFG is providing online resources to help customers secure small-business loans and access safety training courses. PFG has also expanded its partnerships with local food banks to decrease growing food insecurity during the pandemic.
“While there are still challenges in the days ahead, we are encouraged that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the week of March 22 has represented the low point in our weekly sales level,” Holm said.
Performance Food Group, based in Richmond, Va., has a nationwide network of about 75 distribution centers and more than 5,000 suppliers. It markets and delivers food and related products to more 150,000 locations, including independent and chain restaurants, schools, business and industry locations, healthcare facilities, vending distributors, office coffee service distributors, big-box retailers and theaters. Divisions include Performance Foodservice, PFG Customized and Vistar.