Kroger Co (NYSE:KR), one of the oldest and largest companies in the U.S., is shutting down locations across the country amid the increasing share of consumers turning towards online merchants and other alternatives, eschewing traditional supermarkets in the process. Kroger store closings 2017 have impacted states and cities across the country. The retail store closings are usually the result of slowdowns in sales and revenue, forcing the company to shutter these underperforming locations.
The Kroger store closings 2017 represent a threat to thousands of jobs, however, as the company is the second-largest private employer in the country. Kroger operates nearly 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of local names in 35 states and the District of Columbia. If the company continues to see downturns in specific locations, then many of those thousands of jobs could be at risk.
The decline in sales can be seen mirrored in the company’s stock price. KR stock has dropped nearly 33% since the start of 2017.
Companies that have come to dominate online shopping, like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT), have put increasing pressure on retailers like Kroger that have yet to fully adapt to the changing marketplace. While the Kroger shut down in 2017 is happening in many locations, retail store closures as a whole have grown across the industry.
Kroger Store Closings in Georgia: 4 Stores Shut Down as Sales Declined
Following a Kroger sales decline, four locations in Georgia have closed their doors for the last time. The Kroger Georgia stores shut down in 2017 has hit across the state.
One Kroger location in Augusta was closed by March of this year, leaving 110 employees searching for work.
Another location in Gwinnett County shuttered in May, after about 30 years of business. The store’s 118 employees were offered a standard package from Kroger, where they would be considered for reassignment to other Kroger locations. This is a feature of the company’s collective bargaining agreement with its workers.
Another addition to the many Kroger store closings in 2017 occurred in Sandy Springs, where the location ceased operating in October.
The Sandy Springs location “has experienced declining sales and negative profit over an extended period of time and its closure is necessary to make Kroger more competitive in the market,” the company said in a press release.
Sales declines were often cited as the reasons for the shutdowns.
Kroger Store Closings in Michigan: 2 Underperforming Stores Shut Down
The Kroger store closings in 2017 have hardly been contained to Georgia alone. Two underperforming Kroger stores in Michigan were also shuttered this year.
Among the Michigan Kroger stores shutdown was one in Redford Township, which closed in April. The lease for the building had expired in 2016 and the company had made an agreement with the landlord, hoping to improve sales through the holiday season of last year and in early 2017, but the company ultimately decided to shut the location.
Another store in Saginaw Township will shut down on December 6. 92 employees will be laid off, with the potential for reassignment.
Kroger Store Closings in Kentucky, Tennessee & Ohio Amid Losses and Lease Expiration
Adding to the list of Kroger stores closing in 2017 are several locations spread across Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
The Kroger Tennessee stores shutdown manifests itself by way of a Knoxville location closed in March.
“This closing is necessary because the store has experienced significant losses for over 5 years now, including over $1 million in the last two years,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement to local news. “Closing stores is always a last resort, and only considered after all other alternatives have been exhausted.”
The location had 80 employees.
The Kroger Kentucky stores shutdown took place across the state, but one in Louisville is particularly damaging as it served a lower-income neighborhood with already dwindling access to fresh produce and groceries. That closure took place in January. Despite the company being offered a five-year lease renewal by the Ohio Teachers Retirement System pension fund, the company rejected the deal.
The fund is looking to sell the property. The 90 workers who were laid off have been offered work at other Kroger locations.
A final two Ohio Kroger stores shutdown round out our list, with one in Toledo and another in Columbus. The Toledo location employed 115 people, while the Columbus location employed 63 people. The Columbus location shuttered after the landlord decided not to renew the lease, instead choosing to redevelop the site.
Kroger to Sell About 800 Stores Due to Increased Competition from Wal-Mart & Amazon
The competition from online retailers has also forced a Kroger convenience store sale, with hundreds of locations being cast off.
One of the primary reasons for the mass selling has to do with what many are calling the “Amazon effect,” a catch-all term for the increasing prominence of online retailers. Wal-Mart has similarly come to dominate the online marketplace with an increased presence in the space.
The result is that many traditional retailers that are not adapting have become subject to a retail apocalypse of sorts, which has manifested itself here by way of mass Kroger store closings in 2017.
“Kroger to close 15th Street store,” The Augusta Chronicle, January 30, 2017.
“Gwinnett Kroger store will close its doors in May,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 3, 2017.
“DeKalb Kroger closing; 138 employees affected,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 26, 2017.
“Kroger To Close Store In Sandy Springs,” Sandy Springs Patch, September 25, 2017.
“Redford Township Kroger store to close,” Click On Detroit, March 22, 2017.
“Kroger on Gratiot in Saginaw Township closing,” M Live, October 5, 2017.
“Kroger to close store on Western Ave.,” Knox News, March 6, 2017.
“Kroger closing Old Louisville store,” Courier Journal, January 6, 2017.
“Kroger to close location at Southland Shopping Center,” ABC 13, July 14, 2017.
“Columbus University City Kroger store to close in October,” NBC 4i, September 14, 2017.