Marlboro maker Altria to reduce cigarette business workforce by 15% as a result of declining sales; Altria currently has 10,000 employees across U.S.

RICHMOND, Virginia , October 27, 2011 () – Marlboro maker Altria Group says it will cut the number of salaried workers at its cigarette business by 15 percent because sales are declining.

The owner of the nation's largest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, announced plans to trim $400 million in annualized costs by the end of 2013 as it reported quarterly earnings Thursday. It would not say how many people would be impacted by the layoffs.

Altria Group Inc., based in Richmond, Va., says employees that will lose their jobs will be informed by mid-December and most will leave the company by late February.

Altria says cigarette volumes have declined in recent years and have fallen significantly since a large federal tax increase in 2009.

Altria, overall, has 10,000 employees across the U.S. and about 4,600 in Virginia.

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