General Cinema closes L.A., Chicago offices

Exhib laying off 40 as part of cost-cutting plan

NEW YORK — The parent company of General Cinema Theaters is shuttering its regional offices in Los Angeles and Chicago and laying off 40 people as part of a cost-cutting measure.

General Cinema has put a number of theaters in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle up for sale, choosing to concentrate its business in the Northeast and Midwest.

The closing of offices and layoffs will save GC Cos. about $10 million a year starting in fiscal 2001. GC’s fiscal year ends Oct. 31. The company will run all operations out of its Chestnut Hill, Mass., headquarters.

New homes

In addition, about 20 employees will be reassigned or offered retirement packages.

Chief financial officer Gail Edwards said the project has been in the works for about two months and is intended to boost profits.

The theater chain’s net income plunged to $1.9 million for its latest quarter ended in July from $5.2 million the year before. Like many of its competitors, it has suffered from overspending and overbuilding.

Edwards declined to comment on theater sales, but other sellers have had a hard time recently trying to unload theater properties. Cinemark, for instance, put itself on the block earlier this year, then took down the “For Sale” sign due to lack of interest.

Stryjewski upped

GC also announced that Frank Stryjewski has been promoted to president of the company’s domestic theater subsidiary, with 140 locations and 1,067 screens. He formerly served as executive VP and chief operating officer. Current president William Doeren will serve as vice chairman until the end of this year and then leave the company “to pursue other opportunities.”