Ric Francis, Associated Press
It's the largest single layoff we have had that I can ever remember. —Greg Conger, president of United Food Commercial Workers

FULLERTON, Calif. — Albertsons will lay off as many as 2,500 employees at 247 Southern California and southern Nevada supermarkets beginning June 17, the supermarket chain announced Wednesday.

Some employees will be laid off at every store, and the layoffs should be finished by July 1. Representatives would not say if any stores would close or if there would be additional rounds of layoffs.

There are 34 stores in Las Vegas, Pahrump, Boulder and Henderson in Nevada, the company said. The rest are in California, from Paso Robles to San Ysidro.

The company downsized in February at its Fullerton support center, but the need for further changes was clear, Albertsons Southern California President Dan Sanders said in a statement. Albertsons suffered a decrease in customers and sales throughout the division and did not respond adequately to customer needs, he said.

The layoffs do not affect the chain's Intermountain West division or Albertsons' parent, SuperValu Inc., officials said. Albertsons is the largest retail chain in SuperValu's family of stores.

Albertsons is working with the employee union, officials said.

"It's the largest single layoff we have had that I can ever remember," said Greg Conger, president of United Food Commercial Workers, Local 324 in Orange County. "It's pretty devastating."

The union was contacted Wednesday morning, he said. The local will monitor the layoffs to make sure they are done by classification and seniority, as required in the collective bargaining agreement.

Senior employees will be allowed to accept lesser positions, so the people who will be laid off will be the newest employees or those with the least experience, Conger said.

The chain was founded in 1939 and operates 445 Albertsons and Lucky supermarkets in Southern California, southern Nevada, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.