Due to suffering sales, Supervalu Inc., the parent company of Albertsons, announced Sept. 5 that it will close 27 underperforming stores, including 19 in Southern California.
Closures of the retail food stores also include four ACME stores (Fresh Market) and one previously announced Jewel-Osco location, according to a press release. Eight other undisclosed stores are expected to close by Feb. 23, 2013, the end of Supervalu’s fiscal year.
Among the 19 closing stores are two locations near CSUF, in Fullerton at Harbor Boulevard and Imperial Highway, and in Anaheim at Brookhurst Street and Katella Avenue. It is likely that many of the stores will close before Dec. 1.
Lilia Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Albertsons, said Albertsons is focused on moving forward, and that the company is still dedicated to giving their customers the best experience possible.
“We’re just focused on turning this around, and getting rid of the underperforming stores so that we can focus on business again, this is the most important step, which is why there is so much attention on this,” she said.
In a statement, Supervalu’s president Wayne Sales said, “These decisions are never easy because of the impact a store closure has on our team members, our customers and our communities.”
He also said the decision was made to reduce costs and improve shareholder value.
The closures of the stores are expected to generate $35 million in cash within 12 months, and $80-90 million over the next three years.
The Los Angeles Times also reported that over the past two fiscal years, Supervalu has suffered dramatically in sales, including a $1.5 billion loss in 2011 and a $1 billion loss in 2012.
“It was a disabled decision to make based on the fact that it affects our team-members and our customers,” Rodriguez said.
All the employees have a collective bargaining agreement, since they are part of a union, and many of the employees will have bumping rights, but many will still be affected by this decision. Some will be transferred to different stores and districts.
Gilbert Rocha, front store manager at the closing Fullerton location, said the store will keep employees based on seniority.
Rodriguez said there will be layoffs.
“That’s the tough part — the tough part that makes this decision so difficult,” she said.
Supervalu currently has 130,000 employees.
It is believed that because Target and Walmart have added grocery sections to their stores, supermarkets such as Albertsons are taking economic hits.
One-stop stores like Target are selling food items for 15 percent less than traditional supermarkets.
“Price is a concern — we understand that — and everyone is looking for a deal right now,” Rodriguez said.
Rocha said the closures have had a significant impact on the sales of the store.
This location also is in a shopping center where at least five businesses in the surrounding area that have “For Lease” signs in the windows. Rocha said it has had an effect on the store’s sales.
Some customers were unaware of the recent news, and were disappointed to find out that their favorite location will be closing. Customers like Diane Rios of La Habra, who has been shopping at her local Albertsons for 20 years, did not know the store was closing until she did her shopping on Sunday.
“I like that they know me. They ask me how I’m doing, how are my kids. They say, ‘Oh I don’t have your favorite creamer in, but it will come in next week.’ It’s personal,” Rios said.
Rios is disappointed that she has to drive further to do her shopping, but she said she will continue to shop at Albertsons in general. Other customers said they will just go to other supermarkets in the area.
Rocha said that lease is up on the building and the city is doubling the lease, and that if the Albertsons is not seeing profit, there is no point in renewing the lease.
Within the end of the last few weeks of the closing, the Fullerton location is going to start liquidating items starting at 25, 50, 75 and 90 percent. Rocha said he suspects that this location will close by Nov. 4.