Winn Dixie to close stores

Published 6:42 pm Saturday, May 8, 2004

By By Arthur McLean Editor
Winn Dixie has announced it intends to sell or close 156 stores in a restructuring move to focus on its stores in its most profitable areas of the country.
The grocery chain has listed its operations in Alabama as one of what it calls it's "core" market areas that the company plans to keep operating. However, 45 of the 156 store closings will be in those core markets.
The stores are unprofitable or poorly located stores, according to a Winn Dixie press release.
A Winn Dixie spokeswoman said the list of 45 store marked for closure will not be released until the company has notified employees and sought sought out potential buyers.
So far, the Brewton and Atmore appear not to be among those included in an organized effort by the Jacksonville-based supermarket chain to exit markets where it has had a hard time turning a profit.
Both stores – and all Winn Dixie outlets in Alabama – fit into a category of locations the company is interested in keeping, and continuing to develop.
"We identified 36 Designated Market Areas (DMAs) that we consider our core markets," said Jo Ann Gage, vice president of advertising and marketing with Winn Dixie. "We want to build our business there. All of our Alabama markets fall into that category."
That doesn't mean that no Winn Dixie store in this area will ever close – stores are shut down here and there due to various reasons, over the normal course of doing business.
It simply means, Gage said, that our stores here and others in the state have not been designated for closure or sale as part of the chain's current efforts to boost overall profitability.
At the end of March, Winn Dixie was operating 1,078 stores in 52 domestic market areas and the Bahamas. The current round of sales and shut-downs will reduce that number to 922 stores..
These core markets are located in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, and parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Markets the company is exiting are in the Midwest, Virginia and certain parts of North Carolina and South Carolina.

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