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The Arizona Republic reports that Bashas’ Supermarkets plans to close 10 stores and lay off about 1,000 people later this month, following a five-store closure earlier this year. The company also reportedly plans to make “a major announcement” about its future later today, though there have been no indications what the details of that announcement might be.

According to the story, “The Chandler-based string of about 158 Bashas', Food City and AJ's Fine Foods markets, all but two in Arizona, will be reduced to 148. Seven of the 10 stores to be closed are in the Valley: two Bashas' stores in Chandler, one in Gilbert and one in Phoenix; and three Food City stores: two in Phoenix and one in Glendale.

“The other Bashas' stores to be closed are in Green Valley, Page and Prescott.

“Employees will learn more details today in company meetings. Each store employs about 75 to 150 people depending on its size. Earlier this year, Bashas' closed five underperforming stores. Through the store closures, attrition and about 300 layoffs at its corporate headquarters, the grocer already has trimmed about 1,700 people from its payroll in the past year.”

The story also notes that “Bashas' locally owned status, and its customers' loyalty to the locally owned grocer, have long been among the company's strengths. But because it operates almost completely in Arizona, the company's fortunes are directly tied to the state's economic trends. And since Arizona has been harder hit by foreclosures, job losses and a downturn in consumer spending, its local status has proven to be a weakness in this recession.” In addition, there has been heightened competition from various Walmart formats, which now have close to a third of the market share in the region.
KC's View:
“Major announcement” sounds grim. I hate to see this kind of stuff happen to a company like Bashas’ … but sometimes reality catches up even with longtime success stories. The question that will need to be asked and answered is whether Bashas’ could have done more, or done things differently, to cope with the economic downturn and increased competition. And everybody will have an opinion.