Southeastern Grocers – which operates 23 Bi-Lo and three Harveys stores in the Charlotte metro area – confirmed this week that in addition to closing 20 stores nationwide, the company may lay off several department heads at each store.
The store “restructuring” was first reported by Supermarket News, an industry publication. Southeastern Grocers spokesman Joe Caldwell referred to the staffing changes as “right sizing.”
“The stores will be having difficult conversations with fewer than five employees,” at each store, Caldwell told the Observer. He said the hope is that those affected can attain other jobs within Bi-Lo or Harveys stores.
The changes – which include shifting roles and responsibilities in stores – are not a cost-savings effort, Caldwell said.
“We’re making sure we’re working smarter in stores, and that we’re working effectively. We want to make sure we can better serve the customers,” Caldwell said.
Last week, Bi-Lo also confirmed that it is closing its store off Prosperity Church Road in June. The store had operated there for nearly 18 years. Last week, Bi-Lo also said it is also closing a Fort Mill store this summer.
Bi-Lo has scaled back its Charlotte presence in recent years but still competes with other low-cost grocers like Food Lion. Southeastern Grocers has also been converting several Bi-Lo locations in the area into Harveys stores. Bi-Lo/Harveys is the No. 5 grocery company in the Charlotte metro area by market share, according to sales-tracking firm Chain Store Guide.