Albertsons is slated for closure: 62 employees in limbo |

Albertsons is slated for closure: 62 employees in limbo

Jeff Munson
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Albertsons Supermarket at Al Tahoe Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe will close sometime in August.

Four days after its parent company closed sale on a third of its grocery store chain, Albertsons Supermarket in South Lake Tahoe learned Tuesday it is among 37 stores in Northern California and Northern Nevada that will close by early August. The move will displace 62 employees.

Company officials announced the closure of the South Lake Tahoe store Tuesday to its employees after months of speculation that it was considered for the chopping block.

On Friday a deal was struck between Albertsons Northern California and Northern Nevada division based in San Leandro and Cerberus, a privately held company for the purchase of 168 stores.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed. Cerberus, which will retain the Albertsons name, said it was forced to close 37 under-performing stores in the region in order for its remaining 131 stores to remain competitive.

The stores identified have been unprofitable for several years, company officials said.

While they comprise 22 percent of Albertsons’ Northern California/Northern Nevada’s Albertsons’ stores today, they have only accounted for 12.4 percent of sales over the past year, said Donna Robbins, president of Albertsons Northern California Division.

“Concentrating our resources on a base of solidly performing stores will allow Albertsons to be more competitive and better serve the community,” Robbins said in a statement. “This new business strategy will enable us to provide our shoppers better value and an enhanced shopping experience.”

Speaking by telephone, company officials cited poor profit margins at the South Lake Tahoe supermarket as the reason why it is being closed.

“For the Tahoe store, all of the 37 stores, they were unprofitable for several years, and despite the best efforts we’ve made as a company, we were not able to reposition them to compete in their local marketplaces,” said company spokeswoman Quyen Ha.

The store will close sometime in early August and the property will be put on the market for sale, Ha said.

The store employs 62 people. Its senior most employees will be eligible to relocate and work for Albertsons stores elsewhere, Ha said. Stores in Tahoe City, Truckee and in Carson City will remain open. Many of the store closures were in the Sacramento region.

Store manager Mike Patton along with human resources personnel met with the employees Tuesday afternoon to make the announcement. Patton declined to comment, instead referring the Tahoe Daily Tribune to Albertsons corporate headquarters. Patton did say, however, that he would comment on the closure on Wednesday.

Some senior employees declined to speak on the record, but agreed there were signs the 32-year-old store wouldn’t survive the latest sale.

Others said they were shocked by the news.

Employed for nearly two weeks, deli worker Marla Vigil said she knew the store was being sold but didn’t think they would close it.

“I’ve shopped here for years. It’s a great store. I’m sad because I just started,” Vigil said.

Employee Graem O’Conner, who began work at the store in February as a butcher, said he may be forced to move because there are not many good-paying jobs at South Shore.

“It’s a shame for the people who shop here and the people who work here. We really care about each other. It was a great place to work,” O’Conner said.

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