MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P here said last week it plans to close 13 Farmer Jack Stores in the Detroit area by mid-February as part of its ongoing effort to eliminate unprofitable stores.
nada. A&P converted 12 stores in New York and New Jersey to the Food Basics banner last year.
A&P officials said the company expects to "share more information" about the possible conversions of Detroit-area stores sometime this week.
"Despite these difficult but necessary actions, Farmer Jack remains committed to serving the citizens of Detroit and minimizing job losses," said Mike Carter, president of Farmer Jack. "We continue to work with [United Food and Commercial Workers Union] Local 876 as well as [the office of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick] to explore the possibility of converting these locations to a different grocery store format."
Ed Deeb, president of the Michigan Food and Beverage Association, said the poor economy played a role in A&P's decision to close the 13 Farmer Jacks, "and most of the stores that are closing are not generating the sales and traffic they had hoped for."
He said converting the stores to Food Basics "will allow them to compete more vigorously with the other discount food stores, [and] it would also keep stores in the neighborhoods that desperately need them and keep people working in the area."
In a recently signed contract with the UFCW, Farmer Jack promised that any workers let go because of store closings would be offered jobs at limited assortment stores operated by Food Basics.
A&P said last week some employees at the 13 Detroit-area stores will have the option of transferring to other Farmer Jack locations or accepting voluntary severance agreements; the company also said it will work with state and local agencies on job placement and training programs for displaced employees.
A&P previously disclosed plans to close two stores in Lansing, Mich., later this year. The company currently operates 106 Farmer Jack stores in southeastern Michigan. A&P said the store closings will result in restructuring charges, although it did not indicate the magnitude of those charges.