More than 1,300 Shop ’n Save cashiers, stockers and other employees will lose their jobs in the coming months when more than a dozen of the grocery chain’s stores not acquired by Schnucks close, unless another buyer emerges for the stores.
The layoff figures were detailed in notices to Missouri and Illinois economic development officials that are required for mass layoffs, and the final tally was confirmed by Shop ’n Save’s parent company, Minneapolis-based Supervalu, on Thursday: 1,367.
Supervalu announced a deal earlier this week to sell 19 St. Louis area Shop ’n Save stores to Schnuck Markets, which will be rebranded as Schnucks stores in October. Union workers at those stores are being retained by Schnucks.
Supervalu notified employees in Missouri and Illinois at stores not acquired by Schnucks of their imminent termination this week. Additionally, 50 employees at Shop ’n Save’s corporate headquarters in Kirkwood were also given layoff notices.
Labor leaders were working Thursday with both Supervalu and Schnucks executives to reach employment agreements for both employees subject to lay off as well as those being hired by Schnucks. While the bulk of the details have been agreed to, some details remain unresolved at this time.
A chance exists that another grocer could emerge to buy some or all of stores slated for closure, and that grocer could retain some workers. But if a buyer for those locations does not emerge, Supervalu expects to close the remaining Shop ’n Save stores by Nov. 19, said Collin Reischman of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655.
That leaves nine weeks for a buyer to come forward.
Dierbergs, another locally based grocery chain, said it’s not interested in acquiring any of the remaining Shop ’n Save stores.
Aldi, perhaps St. Louis’ fastest-growing grocery brand, neither confirmed nor denied its interest in opening a store in a Shop ’n Save shell. The discount grocer in July confirmed it would relocate one of its south St. Louis grocery stores into an old Shop ’n Save that closed in Tower Grove South last November.
Straub’s Fine Grocers, which markets itself to a different clientele than discount grocer Shop ’n Save, said it’s not kicking the tires. Officials with Walmart and Fresh Thyme, St. Louis’ other major grocers, did not return requests for comment .
Supervalu’s decision to divest its Shop ’n Save brand left open the possibility a national chain, such as Kroger or Publix, could break into the market.
But industry experts say they don’t believe any larger chains are looking to break into the St. Louis market anytime soon given its competitive nature.
Layoffs at Shop ’n Save’s Hazelwood distribution center, which employs more than 150 workers, will begin Nov. 19, with a small group of seven employees staying on until the facility permanently closes Dec. 14.
“Although we are hopeful we can find additional buyers for the remaining stores, we must also prepare for all outcomes,” Supervalu spokesman Jeff Swanson said in an email.
“As for the Nov. 19 date, we needed to give at least 60 days notification to employees, and in the event we haven’t found buyers we wanted to wrap up any product sell-down at these stores ahead of the holiday season,” Swanson continued, adding no other information about potential buyers was available.
Supervalu, which in July agreed to be acquired by United Natural Foods for $2.9 billion, had been shopping its Shop ’n Save brand since April as it looked to focus on its more lucrative wholesale business.
The 19 Shop ’n Save stores to be acquired by Schnucks — 14 on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River and five in the Metro East — will be closed in waves of three beginning Oct. 7, undergo a renovation and reopen as Schnucks stores less than three days later. A schedule of the closures and reopenings has not yet been released. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The approximately 1,500 Shop ’n Save union-represented employees working at those locations will be offered jobs at the Schnucks stores, pending a background check.
Supervalu earlier this year closed its Collinsville store, leaving 60 employees without a job.
Grocers are operating in an increasingly competitive market, with new concepts and technology disrupting the industry.
Walmart has opened its small-format neighborhood grocery centers. Aldi has expanded with new and upgraded locations. And new stores, including Whole Foods and Fresh Thyme, are entrenched firmly in the local market. Meanwhile, local players like Schnucks and Dierbergs have maintained market share.
Each has chipped away at Shop ’n Save’s sales.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story listed a different figure for layoffs. The figure was updated after receiving information from Supervalu.
Shop ‘n Save stores not being acquired by Schnucks that will close in November if a new owner doesn’t emerge:
- 1144 Meramec Station Road, Twin Oaks
- 4660 Chippewa Street, St. Louis
- 301 Watson Road, Crestwood
- 9251 Lewis and Clark Boulevard, Moline Acres
- 10461 Manchester Road, Kirkwood
- 1023 Crossroads Place, High Ridge
- 175 Flower Valley, Florissant
- 196 Mayfair Plaza, Florissant
- 10805 Old Halls Ferry Road, Ferguson
- 15446 Manchester Road, Ellisville
- 1755 Wabash Avenue, Springfield, Ill.
- 200 N. Grand Avenue, Springfield, Ill.
- 943 S. State Street, Jerseyville, Ill.
- 3521 Nameoki Road, Granite City, Ill.
- 1208 Camp Jackson Road, Cahokia, Ill.
- 4201 N. Belt W, Belleville, Ill.
- Shop ‘n Save stores that were acquired Schnucks:
- 1721 Homer M. Adams Parkway; Alton
- 800 Carlyle Avenue, Belleville
- 634 Berkshire Blvd., East Alton
- 2122 Troy Road, Edwardsville
- 1900 East Edwardsville Road, Wood River
- 1253 Water Tower Place, Arnold
- 7909 State Highway N, Dardenne Prairie
- 45 Gravois Bluffs Plaza, Fenton
- 1275 North Truman Blvd., Festus
- 2183 Charbonier Road, Florissant
- 1032 Lemay Ferry Road, Lemay area
- 3740 Monticello Plaza, O’Fallon, Mo.
- 1421 Mexico Loop Road East, O’Fallon, Mo.
- 10634 St. Charles Rock Road, St. Ann
- 60 Harvester Square, St. Charles
- 9070 St. Charles Rock Road, St. John
- 7057 Chippewa Street, Shrewsbury
- 5780 South Lindbergh Boulevard, Affton area
- 100 Jungerman Road, St. Peters