United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) announced it will be closing and selling its Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores. According to a report by the Washington Business Journal, UNFI has already sold some of Shoppers’ 36 locations in the Greater Washington and Baltimore area to Giant Food. The distributor is now doubling its efforts to sell the remaining stores to other grocery outlets.
"We’re making great progress on divesting our retail assets,” said UNFI CEO Steve Spinner in an analyst call earlier this month. “I’d say that we’re well down the path on selling Shoppers, and I’m confident we’ll get that done in the coming months.”
Shoppers currently operates 12 locations in Prince George’s County, 10 in Northern Virginia, three in Montgomery County, and 13 in the city of Baltimore. However, the news source noted that these numbers decreased from last year’s, after Giant absorbed locations in Alexandria, Falls Church, Herndon, and Olney. In November, Gordon Reid, Giant’s President, had hinted that these store conversions fit into the retailer’s own expansion plans, which included three to four more store openings.
At the time of publication, there is no information regarding Shoppers' employees or exact dates of closures/re-openings. However, since UNFI has not found buyers for all of its Shoppers stores, many of the existing stores will not close suddenly.
What does the grocery chain closure mean for the Washington, D.C. market? Deli Market News will continue to keep an eye on all retail happenings.