ShopRite recently introduced its Fresh to Table concept at its store in Warminster, Pa., store.
Wakefern Food Corp.’s ShopRite banner has revealed that it will close five stores and gas stations in the metropolitan area surrounding Albany, N.Y., commonly referred to as the Capital Region. The stores, located in Albany, Colonie, Niskayuna, Slingerlands and North Greenbush, are set to shutter on or around Dec. 9.
The combination of disappointing sales and increased competition has proved too much for ShopRite to sustain operations in the area.
As reported by the Times Union, a letter was sent Friday, Oct. 20 by ShopRite to its vendors, reading: “When we entered this marketplace, we did so with an intent to provide an exceptional shopping experience to the customers. Today, due to changing market conditions and the influx of food retailers in the area, we are unable to maintain the level of sales needed to keep operating these locations. As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to close the stores.”
Ahold Delhaize-owned Hannaford, Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Price Chopper/Market 32 and ALDI are among the food retailers with a presence in the Capital Region.
Wakefern also provided the following statement to Progressive Grocer: “We entered the marketplace a little over a decade ago to bring a quality supermarket to the area. Unfortunately, we have not been able to sustain the level of sales needed to keep the stores operating today. We thank our customers for their patronage and our dedicated associates who served the community.”
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About 500 ShopRite employees are expected to lose their jobs due to the closures. They are represented by two union locals, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1262, which represents store clerks and front-of-store workers, and Local 1, which represents jobs like meat cutters and other back-of-store operations.
“We were really taken by surprise,” Harvey Whille, president of Clifton, N.J.-based Local 1262, said, explaining that the union learned of the looming closures Friday morning. “We’re going to take every action that is available to us,” he said, adding that union officials will be meeting with lawyers and then the company to discuss severance and other arrangements as the stores shut down.
Frank DeRiso, president of Oriskany, N.Y.-based Local 1, said his union also learned of the closure plans Friday morning. “It was definitely a shock to us,” he said.
Despite the closures in upstate New York, Wakefern is looking to find success in other regions with new ShopRite store openings in such locations as Sussex, N.J., and Drexel Hill, Pa. The banner is also investing in its Fresh to Table in-store experience that was introduced a few years ago. The innovative store-within-a-store concept allows customers to find fresh, on-trend foods, easy-to-prepare ingredients and meal solutions in a variety of grab-and-go formats. The concept most recently debuted at the Warminster Shoprite, in Pennsylvania.
Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern comprises nearly 50 members that independently own and operate 360-plus supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Together with its member companies, Wakefern employs nearly 80,000 people. The company is No. 29 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.