The company that owns Shoppers Food & Pharmacy announced plans Friday to sell 13 locations in the D.C.-Baltimore region and to close four others.
United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), which owns Shoppers, said it plans to sell sell 13 of its 43 stores to three separate grocery operators, which the company did not name. Shoppers plans to "wind down operations at these locations," according to a press release from UNFI. They will sell off any remaining inventory and close those stores before they are expected to reopen under new owners.
Among the stores being sold are locations in Burke, Virginia, and Capitol Heights, Landover, Takoma Park and Wheaton, Maryland. The sales are expected to be finalized between mid-December and late February, UNFI said.
Shoppers Stores to Be Sold and Closed
United Natural Foods, Incorporated (UNFI) will sell 13 and close 4 Shoppers and Food & Pharmacy stores.
Credit: Anisa Holmes/NBC Washington
Four more stores are expected to close by the end of January, UNFI said. Those stores are located in Alexandria and Manassas, Virginia, and Baltimore and Severn, Maryland.
A local union president spoke out strongly against the announcement.
"This morning, we were shocked to learn that UNFI plans to sell or close 17 of its remaining Shoppers stores in the next few weeks. We were shocked because this announcement has come after more than a year of silence from the company on its plans," said Mark Federici, president of Local 400 of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), in a statement Friday. "Since UNFI acquired Shoppers, we have requested, insisted and demanded to be given information on the fate of these stores. In response, we have been met with cold indifference."
The union will work to protect the rights of Shoppers employees, Federici's statement went on to say.
UNFI had previously announced plans to sell all Shoppers locations by March 2020. Around the D.C. area, several stores have closed and reopened under new companies in recent years.
Earlier this year, UNFI also closed 30 Shoppers pharmacies located in stores and sold the prescriptions and pharmacy inventories to CVS and Walgreens.
"Today's announcement reflects progress on our commitment to reduce UNFI's retail footprint and marks another step toward transforming UNFI into North America's premier food wholesaler," said UNFI Chair and CEO Steven L. Spinner in Friday's release.
Shoppers locations not mentioned in Friday's announcement will stay open while UNFI "continues to market for sale and operate these remaining stores," the company said.