The owner of US c-store chain Circle K is to offer relocation packages to workers at its 11 New Orleans area stores in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Alimentation Couche-Tard saw its 11 Circle K stores in the region destroyed and is now contacting its 233 affected employees. The storm forced Couche-Tard - which has 4,861 stores in North America - to close 34 Circle K stores in the Gulf states.

Vice president Réal Plourde said: “Katrina is a human tragedy. Several of our employees have lost their houses. Our job over the next few weeks will be to take care of our people.”

Circle K stores are selling $2 bracelets to raise money for the American Red Cross, a move company bosses hope will raise close to $4m. In the meantime, the company is continuing to pay all its Gulf Coast employees as normal.

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