~*~ rara avis ~*~
Shopping centers across the D.C. area are bracing for the impending closure of most of Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores as the chain’s parent company gets out of the retail business.
Some of the Shoppers stores have already been taken over by Giant, and some others are expected to sell to other grocery outlets, though there’s little information available at this time on which stores will be sold and when that will happen.
But Shoppers' parent company United Natural Foods Inc. (NYSE: UNFI) said on a recent earnings call it expects to have finished selling off the Shoppers stores within months.
"We're making great progress on divesting our retail assets," UNFI CEO Steve Spinner said on a March 6 earnings call. "I'd say that we're well down the path on selling Shoppers and I'm confident we'll get that done in the coming months."
That doesn't mean that all the Shoppers stores will close suddenly, but rather, it does appear that the company is aggressively pursuing deals to sell locations.
UNFI acquired Shoppers’ former parent company, SuperValu, in October, but SuperValu had already been shifting its focus to wholesale before the combination.
The changes will have a significant impact on the D.C.-area grocery business, however, given that there are 36 Shoppers stores across Greater Washington and Baltimore. In terms of market share, Shoppers is the fifth largest grocer in the D.C. region.
I will miss Shoppers and hope the one in San Souci will remain a grocery store. I wonder what will happen to BuddyLee.