BOISE, Idaho -- Albertson's here said last week it is in the process of marketing the 165 underperforming stores it intends to divest or close but has no plans to make a list of those locations public.
However, the company will release information on stores that will close -- and that would have closed anyway -- in the course of an average year, Ertharin Cousin Moore, senior vice president, public relations and government affairs, told SN.
Albertson's announced in mid-July it will close approximately 165 stores over the next 12 months that are losing money on an operating cash-flow basis. The closings will encompass about 124 food stores and 41 drug stores in 25 of the 36 states in which the company operates.
The question of whether a formal list of those stores will be published arose last week when Albertson's said it will close an 8,450-square-foot store in Conrad, Mont., on Aug. 27. Asked if the disclosure of that closing signaled the release of information about other intended store closings, Moore said it did not.
"We've identified the 165 stores, and our goal is to sell as many as possible and to go dark on as few as possible. The ones that go dark will be the ones we've determined are not marketable or, once the marketing process is over, those we haven't been able to find buyers for.
"But we're not going to put out a list because the marketing program is in place, and once a list is out, it becomes a fire sale where the people talking with us see it as an opportunity because they know which ones we have to sell."
SN spoke with one retailer last week who indicated he had spoken with Albertson's. He said he expects the company to let him know within a couple of weeks which stores in his area are for sale.
"They told me I could look at the list and then indicate if there were other stores I'd like to talk about that could be added to the mix," he said.
According to Moore, the Albertson's in Conrad is "an old, tired store that would have gone dark anyway."
She said Albertson's closes an average of 75 stores per year. "In announcing we will get rid of 165 stores, we've lumped all the stores into one group -- those that would have closed as part of a natural attrition and those we've determined we should sell or close without going through the attrition process."