United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI), parent company of Shoppers grocery stores, has decided to close four of its stores across the DMV area and sell 13 others to different chains.
The company announced its decision in a statement on December 6. According to the statement, the Shoppers stores that are permanently closing are in Alexandria and Manassas in Virginia, and in Baltimore and Severn in Maryland. All four shops are scheduled to close by the end of next month.
“Today’s announcement reflects on our commitment to reduce UNFI’s retail footprint and marks another step toward transforming UNFI into North America’s premier food wholesaler,” Steven L. Spinner, CEO of UNFI, said in the statement.
Six of the Shoppers locations in Maryland and Virginia are being acquired by the German global discount supermarket chain Lidl. Speaking to WTOP, Lidl spokesman William Harwood said that those spots are in Maryland’s Annapolis, Brooklyn Park, Oxon Hill, Takoma Park and Wheaton, and in Burke, Virginia.
“We will be making significant investments in the redevelopment of the sites, and will have more to share in terms of the grand opening timeline at the end of next year,” Harwood said.
On the other hand, unions are not happy about the company’s move. A local union’s president told NBC 4 Washington that they are shocked to hear about UNFI’s plans to close or sell 17 stores around the area in the next few weeks, vowing to protect the rights of Shoppers employees.