The Omaha World-Herald reports that rumors are rampant that Albertsons could decide to close or sell off its 10-store Omaha division, which could put more than 1,000 people out of work.
According to the paper, “Officials of the Boise, Idaho, chain declined to comment, and other businesses that may be part of the deal also would not confirm the reports. But some employees, fearful of job cuts that would follow an ownership change, have left already.”
Two possible scenarios seem to be popular. One is that Nash Finch would buy the stores and lease them back to local chains. The other is that Wal-Mart would buy the locations for its Neighborhood Market concept; coincidentally, Wal-Mart said a year ago that it would like to have such stores in Omaha.
The reason for an Albertsons divestiture of the stores seems clear – the city doesn’t meet the GE standard (which refers to Albertsons CEO Larry Johnston’s former employer), making it imperative that the company be either number one or a strong number two in the markets it serves.
Albertsons is ranked fourth in Omaha, with about a tenth of the market.
The Bradenton Herald reports that Albertsons plans to remain a strong presence in Florida, though it is not committing to whether it has plans to expand or contract its number of stores there.
Company CEO Larry Johnston affirmed the company’s position regarding Florida at a shareholder meeting last week. Florida was a discussion point at the annual meeting this year because it was held in Florida.