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TOPS CLOSING TWO STORES IN OHIO REGION SHAKE-UP

Tops Markets plans to close two Northeast Ohio stores and make other changes that will result in the elimination of 400 positions, the chain announced Friday.

Tops will not renew the leases for two of its aging stores, said Stefanie Zakowicz, a Tops spokeswoman. The closings will reduce Tops' number of stores in Northeast Ohio to 47.

All Tops stores in Northeast Ohio will convert to selling prepackaged meat, instead of having workers cut meat in the stores. That change is not being adopted in other markets where Tops has stores, Zakowicz said.

"We have an extremely competitive market situation there," she said. "We need to improve the efficiencies and improve our viability and we're taking specific actions there."

Tops has also appointed a new regional vice president, Dennis Hanley, to oversee its Northeast Ohio market.

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com