What's In Store

6 Charlotte-area Bi-Lo, Harveys stores, more across NC, closing as part of bankruptcy

Bi-Lo is closing six Charlotte-area stores as part of major restructuring
Bi-Lo is closing six Charlotte-area stores as part of major restructuring JOHN D. SIMMONS - jsimmons@charl

As part of a major restructuring and planned bankruptcy, the owner of Bi-Lo said it is closing 94 underperforming stores, including six in the Charlotte area.

Southeastern Grocers – the Florida-based owner of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie – said in a statement Thursday that it has made “the difficult but necessary decision” to voluntarily file Chapter 11 bankruptcy to execute its restructuring. The company said it will continue to operate its other 582 “successful stores.”

The company is closing stores under either the Bi-Lo or Harveys banner in Charlotte, Concord, Gastonia and Pineville. Elsewhere in North Carolina, the company is closing stores in Black Mountain, Lincolnton and Morganton.

The other supermarkets to be shuttered are in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. Customers can check whether their local store is affected by visiting http://www.segrocers.com/restructuring and downloading “Store List.”

“We have not taken these steps without careful planning and consideration,” the company said.

Bi-Lo’s decision to close six local stores could exacerbate a problem Charlotte already has with serving lower-income areas with little access to fresh groceries – also known as food insecure areas. The Harveys on Albemarle Road, for instance, sits close to what is considered a food insecure area, as identified in the 2015 “State of the Plate” report by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council.

The closures also mean that landlords may have to scramble to fill retail space of roughly 40,000 square feet. In Charlotte, developers have looked to creative ways to fill the massive empty space. A Studio Movie Grill will take the place of the shuttered Bi-Lo in Prosperity Village, for instance.

Southeastern Grocers operates about 21 Bi-Lo stores in the Charlotte area. Bi-Lo, founded in 1961, is the No. 5 grocery chain in the Charlotte area by market share, according to sales-tracking firm Chain Store Guide.

Bi-Lo has converted three of its Charlotte stores into Harveys Supermarkets over the last few years. Harveys focuses on low prices and has a special price point called the $1 Zone, in which 650 items are priced $1, including drinks, canned goods, cleaners, meals, and baby and health items.

Bi-Lo, which went bankrupt in separate instances in 2005 and 2009, has been trimming its local store count in recent years. Its most recent area closures last summer were stores off Prosperity Church Road in Charlotte and in Fort Mill, S.C. Bloomberg first reported last month that Bi-Lo could close up to 200 stores in coming weeks as its parent company prepared to file for bankruptcy.

It is unclear when each affected store will close. The company declined interview requests Thursday. Here is a list of the North Carolina stores that will close:

▪ Bi-Lo at 205 NC 9 in Black Mountain.

▪ Harveys at 6320 Albemarle Road in Charlotte.

▪ Harveys at 4430 The Plaza in Charlotte.

▪ Bi-Lo at 595 Us 601 Bypass South in Concord.

▪ Bi-Lo at 2204 Union Road in Gastonia.

▪ Bi-Lo at 1955 Davis Park Road in Gastonia.

▪ Bi-Lo at 427 North Generals Blvd. in Lincolnton.

▪ Bi-Lo at 1555 E. Union Street in Morganton.

▪ Bi-Lo at 9101 Matthews-Pineville Road in Pineville.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta