Kroger to exit one of its markets

Kroger Co. is saying farewell to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

The supermarket giant confirmed that it will exit the Raleigh-Durham market on or about Aug. 14, by closing and selling its 14 locations. Kroger has had stores in the market since 1989.

“After a thorough evaluation of the market for a significant time period, we have decided to close our stores in the highly competitive Raleigh-Durham market,” said Jerry Clontz, president of the Mid-Atlantic division of Kroger. “While we have had some success, we have not been able to grow our business the way we would like in this market.
Added Clontz, “The retail environment is challenging and changing in Raleigh-Durham. Many retail analysts say the Raleigh-Durham market is over-stored.”

The closures will impact about 1,500 employees, more than half of which are part-time associates.

“We’re making every effort to assist our associates in finding employment,” said Clontz. “We will offer job fairs and job placement services to associates. Our associates also have access to our employee assistance programs to help them manage through this process.”

Food Lion snapped up one store and Crunch Fitness will also move into one location in Raleigh. Harris Teeter has announced that it will acquire eight stores in the Raleigh-Durham area. Clontz said Kroger is in discussions and exploring potential options for the remaining locations.
Harris Teeter expects the transaction to be completed in August and intends to finalize its remodel and re-opening plans while the stores are closed. Pharmacies at five of the purchased stores will remain open throughout the transition.

“Kroger has a long tradition of operating in this area, as does Harris Teeter” said Danna Robinson, communication manager for Harris Teeter. “We plan to invest in remodeling a number of these locations to better serve our shoppers in this growing and vibrant market.”

Kroger Mid-Atlantic worked with The Food Partners, a Washington, D.C.-based, grocery industry focused investment banking firm, as a strategic adviser for the divestiture of these stores.

Kroger Mid-Atlantic division operates 108 additional stores in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio.