Tops Markets, LLC filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) report with the New York State Department of Labor, saying it will be closing its Tops Friendly Markets grocery store at 1357 Route 9 in Wappingers Falls on February 1. The company cited “economic reasons” for the permanent closure, which will leave 83 out of work.
This is the second store in as many months that Tops Friendly Markets has announced it is shuttering. The company closed its supermarket in Jordan, New York on October 14. The store, which opened just five years earlier, had been under-performing. Employees from the Jordan store were assigned to other locations.
Tops is a leading grocery store chain serving Upstate New York, Northern Pennsylvania, Western Vermont, and North-Central Massachusetts. The Williamsville-based grocery store chain operates more than 170 full-service supermarkets under the Tops and Orchard Fresh banners. It also has five additional supermarkets operated by franchisees.
Tops Friendly Markets, like the broader grocery store industry, continues to feel the strain of competition from brands like those of Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT), Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). Grocery store operators have either had to lay off staff, close stores, or revamp operations to stay competitive.
Cincinnati-based Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) announced recently that it was looking into selling its convenience store business. Kroger operates more than 780 convenience stores across 18 states. Selling its convenience store business would leave Kroger, which is one of the world’s largest food retailers, with 2,800 supermarkets.
To close the gap on tight margins, Tops Friendly Markets has been streamlining its operations over the last number of years. In 2015, Tops closed 27 store pharmacies to make room for more groceries.
The company noted that space inside its supermarkets is a premium and some of the stores are not filling enough prescriptions. The pharmacies that closed accounted for less than 20% of the company’s prescription volume.
At the time, all of the pharmacists at the affected stores were being considered for employment. However, their employment wasn’t guaranteed.
The streamlining and store closures does not mean that Tops Friendly Markets is in the clear. In a June 2017 article, Tops was named as one of the top retailers in the U.S. that was at serious risk of bankruptcy.
“WARN Notices,” New York State Department of Labor, last accessed November 14, 2017.
“Investor Relations,” Tops Holding II Corporation, last accessed November 14, 2017.
“CLOSER LOOK: Kroger may sell off more than 700 convenience stores,” Dayton Daily News, October 14, 2017.
“Tops Markets to close 27 store pharmacies, including six in CNY,” The Post-Standard, February 4, 2015.
“22 Retailers That Are at Serious Risk of Bankruptcy,” Money, June 13, 2017.