PROVIDENCE, R.I., Dec. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE: UNFI) (“UNFI” or the “Company”), today announced it has entered into definitive agreements to sell 13 of its 43 Shoppers Food & Pharmacy (“Shoppers”) stores to three separate grocery operators. Each of the transactions is expected to close between mid-December and the end of February 2020, subject to customary closing conditions. In connection with the sale transactions, Shoppers intends to wind down operations at these locations, including the sale of any remaining inventory and closure of the stores prior to reopening under other banners.
UNFI will also close four additional Shoppers stores, which are expected to cease operations by the end of January 2020. UNFI made the decision to not renew the lease at three of these locations and the fourth is being canceled pursuant to an agreement with the landlord.
“Today’s announcement reflects progress on our commitment to reducing UNFI’s retail footprint and marks another step toward transforming UNFI into North America’s premier food wholesaler,” said Steven L. Spinner, UNFI Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe that exiting the retail business will further accelerate our business transformation and allow us to more appropriately allocate resources toward long-term growth initiatives.”
A complete list of stores to be closed or sold under these agreements is included in the addendum to this press release. Shoppers locations not specifically identified in this announcement will remain open while UNFI continues to market for sale and operate these remaining stores.
Earlier this year, UNFI made the decision to close the 30 Shoppers pharmacies located in the stores and operated under the Shoppers banner and sold the prescriptions and pharmacy inventories to CVS and Walgreens.
Mr. Spinner added: “We will continue to wind down our retail footprint in a strategic and thoughtful manner to achieve the goals previously outlined. As we do this, we greatly appreciate the loyalty of our associates and the tremendous service they have provided to our customers.”
As part of the transactions, two of the buyers will enter into long-term agreements for UNFI to serve as the primary supplier of their acquired Shoppers locations under different banners. Founded in 1929, Shoppers serves the Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia communities.
The Food Partners, LLC advised UNFI on these transactions.
Two Shoppers locations being sold to McKay’s on December 18, 2019:
Shoppers #2375 – Lexington Park
22599 MacArthur Boulevard, California, MD 20619
Shoppers #2349 – Waldorf
1170 Smallwood Drive W, Waldorf, MD 20603
A joint statement from UFCW Local 400 & UFCW Local 27:
This morning, we were contacted by a representative from Shoppers’ parent company, UNFI, and informed that 13 Shoppers locations are being sold to other companies and four locations are being closed permanently. The complete list is below.
This is unacceptable. For the last year, we have requested, insisted, and demanded to be given information on the fate of these stores. We have sent letters to the UNFI CEO demanding a meeting. We have gathered support from elected officials and community leaders, and we have held protests and demonstrations to demand straight answers. In response, we have been met with silence.
Now, only a few minutes before UNFI issued a press release making the announcement, we are suddenly informed that stores are being sold or closed. This cold indifference is no way for UNFI to treat Shoppers employees or their union.
This is a developing situation and we are moving rapidly to address it. We intend to do everything in our power to hold UNFI accountable under the law and under our union contract.
We will announce the next steps shortly and we will provide updates as soon as we have them. If any new information comes to light, we will share it with you immediately. We are committed to keeping you informed every step of the way.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to talk to your union representative or call your union headquarters:
UFCW Local 400: (301) 459-3400
UFCW Local 27: 410-337-2700 ext 800