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Hardee's Announces Layoffs in Rocky Mount; Floyd Partly to Blame

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ROCKY MOUNT — Weeks after flooding devastated Rocky Mount, the city has been dealt another major blow. CKE, the parent company ofHardee's, says it will lay off 150 workers -- about half of its staff -- from its headquarters in Rocky Mount.

Approximately 150 employees, including those with Hardee's Equipment Division, will remain at what will become the Hardee's division office in Rocky Mount.

"Laying off good employees is never easy," said Tom Thompson, CKE's president and chief operating officer. "This is an unfortunate but necessary step toward making Hardee's healthy again."

Certain corporate employees from Hardee's will be given the opportunity to transfer to Anaheim. The layoffs will come in three phases with the first in January, and the last in June.

The news is still setting in for Hardee's corporate employees who found out about the decision Thursday morning.

"It's never easy to get that type of news. We had employees meet with their department heads individually. We then gave them the opportunity to go home for the day," says Hardee's spokesperson Sharon Hamilton.

CKE Restaurants, which bought Hardee's two years ago, says two things led to the layoffs. The primary reason is that its office in California no longer needs as many workers here.

The other reason is damage from Hurricane Floyd. While most other industries nearby are rebuilding, CKE says it is not practical to rush back in to its damaged work space.

"It's fair to say that Hurricane Floyd accelerated our decision," says Hamilton.

Pravin Shukla heads the Business Studies department at Nash Community College. He says Rocky Mount can handle the losses, but says the economic pinch will be felt long-term.

The 150 layoffs are mid-level jobs that pay relatively well, and generate many more dollars around town.

"It will have an effect on the real estate, it will have an effect on retail sales, it will have an effect on banking and all the sectors of the local community," says Shukla.

InJuly of 1997when California-based CKE took over Hardee's, 95 people lost their jobs in Rocky Mount. InApril of 1998, Hardee's changed its menu and its look.

While the franchise has succeeded in the fast food breakfast battle, lunch and dinner sales lag behind other chains.

The layoffs will not affect Hardee's restaurants around the state.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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