Bashas' may close up to 10 stores statewide
by Max Jarman - Apr. 23, 2009 02:15 PM
The Arizona Republic
Bashas' Markets said Thursday that it would close an unspecified number of underperforming stores around the state to hold down costs in an "extremely challenging retail environment."
Spokeswoman Kristy Nied said the exact number of stores has not been determined, but that it would only be a "handful."
The number is thought to be between five and 10 which with a typical head count of 100 to 150 per store, affected jobs could range from 500 to 750 and 1,000 to 1,500.
Bashas' spokeswoman Kristi Nied said the company would make every effort to find jobs for the impacted employees at other stores.
"It was one of the most difficult decisions we've made," she said.
The announcement follows the closure of five Bashas' stores earlier this year which affected between 500 and 750 jobs.
Those stores included two Bashas' and a Food City Latin market in Phoenix, an Ike's Farmers Market in Tucson and another Food City store in Yuma.
I addition to the jobs lost due to store closures Bashas' has had two rounds of layoffs in the past year that have eliminated about 550 corporate and support jobs.
The store closures are the result of increased competition and lower margins due to the recession. So far Bashas' is the only supermarket chain to announce multiple closures, but analysts believe there could be more on the horizon.
A spate of new supermarket openings in the Phoenix area over the past two years has made the Valley possibly the nation's most competitive and over-stored area in the country, according to supermarket analyst David Livingston.
In the past few years Wal-Mart has opened 10 Supercenters in metro Phoenix, four smaller neighborhood markets and plans to open four even smaller Marketside grocery stores. Tesco has opened 30 Fresh & Easy stores and has plans for 15 more. Sprouts has expanded along with traditional grocers Safeway and Fry's.
"There's only so much room and so much demand for groceries in Phoenix," Livingston said. "Something had to give."