Lowes Foods is closing its remaining Gastonia stores on April 1.
The closures are part of a “comprehensive growth strategy” that includes rebranding all existing Lowes Foods stores by 2019 and entering into the Greenville, S.C., market in 2016, the company said.
Lowes Foods has been gradually shifting its store portfolio away from Charlotte and closed two other Gastonia stores in August. The company also closed stores in Cary and West Jefferson last fall.
The latest Gastonia closures are at the Hoffman Village Shopping Center (1949 Hoffman Road), and Robinwood Crossing Center (1751 Neal Hawkins Road), according to a statement from Lowes Foods.
“Unfortunately, the combination of store performance and pending lease expiration at our two Gastonia locations made it difficult to maintain a viable market presence,” Kimberly George, a Lowes Foods spokeswoman, said in an email to The Observer. “We regret that this decision will impact our store teams, their families, and our valued guests in Gastonia.”
The company also said where possible, Lowes Foods employees will be offered positions at other stores “or otherwise assisted.”
The closures will affect approximately 160 workers between the two stores, 37 of whom are full time, George said, though it’s unclear how many will take positions at other Lowes Food stores.
It’s also unclear what will take the place of the two Lowes stores closing in Gastonia. In 2012, Lowes Foods sharply reduced its Charlotte presence by swapping stores with Harris Teeter. Lowes Foods sold 10 stores to Harris Teeter in exchange for six Harris Teeter stores in smaller markets like Asheville and Gastonia and $26.5 million.
Lowes Foods, based in Winston-Salem, operates 97 full-service supermarkets in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia and employs about 9,000 people. Excluding the Gastonia stores that will close, Lowes Foods operates eight other stores in the Charlotte area.