February 02, 2011

Supervalu-owned Stores to Close in Maryland

Two Shoppers Food and Pharmacy stores in Marylandís Baltimore County are set to close their doors permanently by the end of February, along with an Acme store in Harford County, according to published reports. The Shoppers locations are in Owings Mills and Timonium, while the Acme store is in Fallston.

The banners' parent company, Minneapolis-based Supervalu, said the locations werenít meeting expectations. Earlier this month, Supervalu posted third-quarter sales that were down from the year-ago period, which the company attributed to the still-sluggish economy and heightened competitive activity.

"Supervalu has been reporting losses and is looking to sell or close underperforming stores," Baltimore-area grocery observer Jeremy Diamond, whose family ran the Food-A-Rama chain in the region, told Progressive Grocer. "Shoppers in Owings Mills and Timonium face steep competition from Giant Food, Mars, Walmart and Target, among others. Shoppers has recently been losing market share as new chains like Harris Teeter, Fresh Market and ShopRite move into the immediate area, all while Walmart and Target have added full grocery departments in their stores. Shoppers does have some very good locations, which would open up opportunities should they shut down more stores."

"In early January, Supervalu announced a number of store closures across the enterprise," company spokesman Michael Siemienas told PG. "Supervalu strives to ensure the success of all its stores; however, it is occasionally necessary to close those stores that are not profitable. We announced these store closings to ensure that we can eliminate these negative operating costs and better position the company for a healthier start to our new fiscal year."

Siemienas added, "While the decision to close a store is always difficult -- given the impact on associates and customers -- Supervalu has a responsibility to do what is best for the long-term success of the overall company."