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Shippensburg and Walkersville Food Lion grocery stores to close

January 13, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

A Food Lion in Shippensburg, Pa., and a Bloom in Walkersville, Md., are expected to close within 30 days, according to Delhaize America, the supermarket company that owns the grocery chains.

The Food Lion at 300 S. Fayette St. in Shippensburg and the Bloom at 8425 Woodsboro Pike in Walkersville were the only two grocery stores in the local Tri-State area on the company's store closings list, which can be found online at www.foodlion.com.

No Food Lions in Washington County are closing.

A manager at the Shippensburg Food Lion who would not provide his name, said Friday that he could not release how many employees the store had or the exact closing date. He said the store had been there since 1991.

Food Lion spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown said on average Food Lion stores employ 35 to 40 people, and Bloom stores employ 40 to 45 people. In both chains, the majority of employees are part-time workers, she said.

Prices will be marked down at the closing stores beginning Jan. 18, Phillips-Brown said.

Delhaize America, a supermarket company based in Salisbury, N.C., announced the closings and conversions Wednesday as part of an effort to strengthen its U.S. portfolio, according to an online news release.

The plan includes closing 126 stores, including 113 underperforming Food Lion stores, retiring the Bloom banner, and converting 64 Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food stores in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia to Food Lions.

Two Frederick, Md., stores — a Bloom at 2060 Yellow Springs Road and a Bottom Dollar Food at 6920 Crestwood Blvd. — will be converted to Food Lion stores, the release said.

Bloom stores offer healthy and affordable items such as gluten-free and organic products, as well as many gourmet items, Phillips-Brown said. Company officials are still determining which products that Bloom offers will be sold in the stores when they are converted to Food Lions.

Bottom Dollar Food is a discount grocery chain that has been growing, Phillips-Brown said. It sells national and store brands.

Nationally, the store closures will result in approximately 4,900 employees being "displaced," the release said.

Eligible employees will receive severance pay, and the company will work with government officials to help with transition support, the release said.

The targeted stores will close within 30 days, according to a  news release Wednesday. The conversions were to begin immediately.

Pierre-Olivier Beckers, president and chief executive officer of Belgium-based Delhaize Group, the parent company of Delhaize America, said in a news release Thursday that company officials were disappointed in fourth quarter revenues in the United States and Belgium.

That led to the decision to close or convert so many stores in the United States, as well as southeastern Europe, Beckers said in the release.

"For a retailer, it is never an easy decision to close stores as we are fully aware of the impact on our associates, our customers and the communities we serve. Having said that, we feel these decisions are in keeping with our responsibility to our shareholders to deploy resources where they will achieve the highest return. We fully expect these actions to be value enhancing in 2012," Beckers said in the release that can be found online at www.delhaizegroup.com.

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