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by Kelly Johnson

As consumers pare their spending, retailers are responding by trimming the hours they operate.

Name-brand retailers, mall owners and some restaurants are cutting hours, both locally and nationally. The adjustments are slight, but the savings add up.

Nonetheless, some industry experts expect the trend to be short-lived, just another part of the recession.

“It’s a short-term measure just to control expenses,” said Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation.

The owner of the Roseville and downtown Sacramento malls is doing it. So are Best Buy stores, some Barnes & Noble bookstores and the pharmacies within some Walgreens drugstores – but no Walgreens locally. Simon Property Group, which owns Folsom Premium Outlets, has shortened hours at some of its malls elsewhere. Steadfast Cos. maintained hours at Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, but trimmed shopping time at Yuba Sutter Mall.

Ambrosia Café & Catering in downtown Sacramento used to close at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Now, the cafe closes two hours earlier on Monday and an hour earlier the other four days.

The restaurant has a good lunch crowd and was trying to build its dinner following, but since January hasn’t had the customers to justify the labor cost, said Kim Anderson, a partner in the restaurant.

Anderson figures she’s saving $1,500 a month in pay and maybe that much in taxes and workers’ compensation insurance.

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