Southeastern Grocers LLC—the parent company of BI-LO, Harveys, Winn-Dixie, and Fresco y Más grocery stores—announced that it will be closing 20 stores. This is expected to lead to an unspecified number of layoffs. Southeastern Grocers is the fifth-largest conventional supermarket chain in the United States and the second-largest conventional supermarket in the southeast U.S., based on store count.
The 20 planned store closures, which were announced locally, are part of the company’s Winn-Dixie and Harvey’s footprint. The company is also considering cutting several lead roles at stores. These workers will be eligible to reapply for other open positions. Those not re-hired will be offered severance.
“From time to time, the successful execution of our strategy will require us to make the difficult decision to close stores,” said Southeastern Grocers spokesperson Joe Caldwell. “As part of our stores’ portfolio review, we are seeking ways to optimize our network. This has involved expansion, format development, brand development and consolidation.”
The following stores are set to close, with most of the shutdowns occurring in June 2017.
“Winn-Dixie” stores will close in Anniston, Alabama; Jacksonville, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Columbus, Georgia; Gulfport, Mississippi; and Meridian, Mississippi.
One “Harveys” store will close in Albany, Georgia.
“BI-LO” stores will close in Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbus, North Carolina; Bluffton, South Carolina; Boiling Springs, South Carolina; Fort Mill, South Carolina; and Orangeburg, South Carolina.
While the U.S. retail landscape is being crushed, the grocery industry is attempting to reinvent itself to stay relevant, fend off competition from larger corporations like Wal-Mart Stores Inc, and attract new customers.
Over the last two years, Southeastern Grocers has been in a state of transition. In the last year, the company has renovated 90 of its 730 stores, introduced new pricing programs, rebranded its Harveys banner, and introduced the Hispanic-focused Fresco y Más brand at some Winn-Dixie stores.
These changes have not been able to overcome the difficult environment. In 2016, Southeastern Grocers announced that full-year revenue fell by more than seven percent and that same-store sales dipped by 3.6%. The company is also in talks to refinance its debt.
Southeastern confirms 20 store closures; store management restructuring,” Supermarket News, May 8, 2017.