Long­time gro­cer to close two more stores in Char­lotte area

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Local - BY KATHER­INE PER­ALTA kper­[email protected]­lot­teob­server.com Kather­ine Per­alta: 704-358-5079, katieper­alta

Nearly a year after clos­ing six Char­lotte-area stores amid a bank­ruptcy, the par­ent com­pany of the long­time gro­cer Bi-Lo is clos­ing two more stores in the re­gion.

In an emailed state­ment, South­east­ern Gro­cers said it has “made the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion” to close its stores in south Char­lotte near St. Matthew Catholic School, as well as in Bel­mont on Wilkin­son Boule­vard near Bel­mont Abbey Col­lege.

The stores will close on or be­fore March 25. The two su­per­mar­kets will each have re­duced prices on their re­main­ing prod­ucts un­til then.

Last March South­east­ern Gro­cers – the Florid­abased owner of Bi-Lo, Har­veys and Winn-Dixie – an­nounced plans to close 94 un­der­per­form­ing stores na­tion­wide, in­clud­ing six in the Char­lotte area. The lo­cal stores that closed were un­der ei­ther the Bi-Lo or Har­veys ban­ner in Char­lotte, Con­cord, Gas­to­nia and Pineville.

The clo­sures were part of a ma­jor re­struc­tur­ing and planned bank­ruptcy. The com­pany said at the time it planned to con­tinue to op­er­ate its other hun­dreds of “suc­cess­ful stores.”

In May, South­east­ern Gro­cers CEO An­thony Hucker told the Observer that the firm had emerged from bank­ruptcy “as a much stronger com­pany.” The com­pany planned to re­model stores as well as up­grade its prod­uct selec­tions, in­clud­ing ex­pand­ing its of­fer­ings of fruits and veg­eta­bles, Hucker said.

Bi-Lo is the No. 6 gro­cery chain in the Char­lotte re­gion by mar­ket share, ac­cord­ing to the sales-track­ing firm Chain Store Guide.

The com­pany would not say how many work­ers will lose their jobs at the Char­lotte and Bel­mont Bi-Lo stores that are clos­ing. Spokesman Joe Cald­well said in an email that the em­ploy­ees were the “first to know of this de­ci­sion,” and that South­east­ern Gro­cers will at­tempt to place af­fected work­ers at nearby stores if pos­si­ble.

“We re­al­ize that the clo­sure of an un­der-per­form­ing store in your com­mu­nity can be chal­leng­ing. We do not take these de­ci­sions lightly, and only make this tough choice after care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of its im­pact on our as­so­ciates and our cus­tomers has been made,” Cald­well said.

COURESTY OF SOUTH­EAST­ERN GRO­CERS

Nearly a year after clos­ing six Char­lotte-area stores, the par­ent com­pany of Bi-Lo is clos­ing two more stores.

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