Up to 570 Central Floridians will lose their jobs when Albertsons closes almost all its operations here, according to notices filed with the state this week.
Albertsons will close six Orlando-area stores in June, leaving just one in Altamonte Springs. It also will shutter a Polk County distribution center that employs 60.
Statewide, 13 Albertsons supermarkets employing 1,130 people will close.
Spokeswoman Christine Wilcox said just four stores will remain open across the state, which means employees won’t have many opportunities to transfer unless they move from Florida. Albertsons LLC, based in Boise, Idaho, operates almost 200 stores in other parts of the country.
“There will be some opportunities in Florida, but they will be very limited,” Wilcox said.
Albertsons had trouble battling in Florida’s completive grocery store environment. It faced not only Publix, the state’s dominant chain, but Walmart and Aldi, a discount grocer. Target has also stepped up its grocery business.
“The competition that’s come into the market, you could see where something had to give,” said David Marks, president of Orlando-based retail-real estate firm Marketplace Advisors.
The stores’ demise will leave gaping holes in shopping plazas across the region. But commercial real estate experts say the spaces might be leased again fairly quickly.
“They have good locations,” said John Crossman, president of retail leasing firm Crossman & Co. “Those tend to be easier to lease than similar stuff out there. They were better site locators than Winn-Dixie ever was. They just didn’t have the market share.”
Sedano’s, Whole Foods or Fresh Market would be good candidates for the old spaces, Marks said. While government offices and a children’s bounce-house business have filled other old Central Florida supermarkets, Marks said ideally other grocers would come in.
Then, “you’ve got customers coming there a couple times a week,” he said. “It’s generating traffic for the Chinese restaurant, the nail salon, hair salon.”
Credit to Orlando Sentinal