- Southeastern Grocers will close 22 stores across four states by March 25 or before, the company confirmed in an email to Grocery Dive. The closures include 13 Bi-Lo stores, seven Winn-Dixies and two Harveys Supermarket locations.
- States impacted by the closures include South Carolina, which will lose nine Bi-Los and one Harveys; Florida, where seven Winn-Dixies and one Harveys will close; and North Carolina as well as Georgia, where two Bi-Los each will shutter.
- The news comes a year after the company closed 94 locations leading up to its bankruptcy. “We realize that the closure of an underperforming store in your community can be challenging,” company spokesman Joe Caldwell said in a statement. “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.”
Eight months after Southeastern Grocers emerged from a brief stint in Chapter 11, the company is again showing signs it’s struggling to keep up in competitive markets.
In South Carolina, where the majority of closures are happening, six stores will close in the Midlands and Upstate regions in towns like West Columbia, Pickens and Lexington. The chain’s Mount Pleasant closing will mark an exit from the town just east of Charleston, in the state’s Lowcountry region. According to Charleston’s Post & Courier, seven Bi-Lo stores have closed in the Lowcountry since 2016.
In Florida, Winn-Dixie has lagged marketshare leader Publix for years. It is under renewed pressure from Walmart as well as new chains entering the state, most notably Aldi. In Orlando, where Winn-Dixie is closing one store, the hard discounter has more than a dozen locations. A Walmart is also located less than a mile from that Winn-Dixie location.
The company’s financial restructuring last year reduced its debt load by $600 million, including $522 million that was offloaded in a debt-for-equity swap. Since then, Southeastern Grocers has banked on store updates to lift the chain. A spokesman for the company said by email Friday morning it remodeled more than 90 locations last year, though did not provide an outlook for remodels this year. Southeastern Grocers operates 570 stores in total.
A Winn-Dixie store in St. Johns County, Florida that was updated last year features pizza and sub sandwich stations, along with 1,400 new natural and organic products. Other updates across the chain have included revamped produce departments, expanded beer and liquor sections, and a larger footprint for deli.
As CEO Anthony Hucker told reporters and shoppers at the St. Johns County store opening last year, Southeastern is using boots-on-the-ground research and data analytics to customize each location to its shoppers.
In addition to Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo updates, Southeastern has stepped up the conversion rate for its Harveys and Fresco Y Mas specialized formats. The discount Harveys banner, the company has found, is a good fit in lower-income areas, while Fresco Y Mas allows Southeastern to stay relevant in regions where Hispanic shoppers have increased. In December, Fresco Y Mas opened its 26th store — its first focused on serving Caribbean shoppers with specialties like goat and oxtail, and unique produce like jackfruit and root vegetables.
Southeastern Grocers' updates may lift sales for the most promising stores, as the company closes underperforming locations. But with competing chains also remodeling their stores and slashing prices, success is anything but guaranteed for the company.
Below is a listing of all the stores closing along with their locations.
· 4360 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL 33409
· 3435 N Federal Hwy, Pompano Beach, FL 33064
· 1850 N. Tamiami Trail, N. Ft. Myers, FL 33903
· 179 Bloomingdale Ave., Brandon, FL 33511
· 5975 Mobile Hwy, Pensacola, FL 32526
· Winn-Dixie: 7840 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, FL 34747
· Winn-Dixie: 5732 N. Hiawassee Road, Orlando, FL 32810
· 111 Edgewood Avenue, North Augusta, SC 2984
· 421 Columbia Ave., Lexington, SC 29072
· 2916 Emanuel Church Rd., West Columbia, SC 29170
· 720 N. Main St., North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
· 2199 Southport Road, Spartanburg, SC 29306
· 2700 Gentry Memorial Hwy, Pickens, SC 29671
· 1315 S. Pleasantburg Dr., Greenville, SC 29605
· 14154 E. Wade Hampton Blvd, Greer, SC 29651
· 1909 US Hwy. 17 N. Bypass, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
· 6507 Wilkinson Blvd., Belmont, NC 28012
· 8620 Camfield St., Charlotte, NC 28277
· 500 Fury's Ferry Road, Martinez, GA 30907
· 4480 Columbia Rd., Martinez, GA 30907
· 901 Church St., Conway, SC 29527
· 2640 NE 14th Street, Ocala, FL 34470