Grocery wars are intense in Charlotte
Nearly a year after closing six Charlotte-area stores amid a bankruptcy, the parent company of the longtime grocer Bi-Lo is closing two more stores in the region.
In an emailed statement, Southeastern Grocers said it has “made the difficult decision” to close its stores in south Charlotte near St. Matthew Catholic School, as well as in Belmont on Wilkinson Boulevard near Belmont Abbey College.
The stores will close on or before March 25. The two supermarkets will each have reduced prices on their remaining products until then.
Last March Southeastern Grocers – the Florida-based owner of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie – announced plans to close 94 underperforming stores nationwide, including six in the Charlotte area. The local stores that closed were under either the Bi-Lo or Harveys banner in Charlotte, Concord, Gastonia and Pineville.
The closures were part of a major restructuring and planned bankruptcy. The company said at the time it planned to continue to operate its other hundreds of “successful stores.”
In May, Southeastern Grocers CEO Anthony Hucker told the Observer that the firm had emerged from bankruptcy “as a much stronger company.” The company planned to remodel stores as well as upgrade its product selections, including expanding its offerings of fruits and vegetables, Hucker said.
Bi-Lo is the No. 6 grocery chain in the Charlotte region by market share, according to the sales-tracking firm Chain Store Guide.
The company would not say how many workers will lose their jobs at the Charlotte and Belmont Bi-Lo stores that are closing. Spokesman Joe Caldwell said in an email that the employees were the “first to know of this decision,” and that Southeastern Grocers will attempt to place affected workers at nearby stores if possible.
“We realize that the closure of an under-performing store in your community can be challenging. We do not take these decisions lightly, and only make this tough choice after careful consideration of its impact on our associates and our customers has been made,” Caldwell said.