Safeway announced late yesterday that it was closing the Greenwood Safeway and Aurora Avenue Albertsons stores because they were no longer profitable. The company plans to place as many employees as possible in nearby stores.
Safeway spokeswoman Sara Osborne tells me the property was purchased by Washington Holdings LLC, a Seattle-based real estate company. (We have a message in to Washington Holdings and will update you when we find out more information about its plans for the site.)
Here’s the company’s full press release:
Safeway and Albertsons announced to the employees today at our Greenwood Safeway and Aurora Albertsons in Seattle that the stores would be closing by June 16, 2018. Despite the best efforts of the store teams, we have been unable to reposition these stores to be profitable, and following an extensive review, we have made the difficult decision to close the stores and sell the property.
As anyone with a career in food retail knows, as economic environments change, it becomes necessary to evaluate the long-term viability of certain locations. This is something that is faced by all grocery operators, which function on the slimmest of margins compared to most industries. Safeway and Albertsons have been evaluating our store base in the City of Seattle for some time now and reviewed several strategies to best position the city stores for future success. We are honored to serve almost every community in the City of Seattle, and enjoy our role as the neighborhood grocery store. We are in the business of providing food for families, and not in the business of closing stores, so it is with regret that we must make this announcement today.
In ordinary circumstances, urban stores carry more operating expenses than other stores due to higher rent, transportation, security and maintenance costs, and we have accepted that operating in any city is generally less profitable than other locations. Yet, in the City of Seattle, as a result of the implementation of a series of regulations in just the past three years, our city stores have experienced over a 10% increase in operating expenses. Due to the fact that we are a mainstream grocer with the primary purpose of holding down prices to provide value to all customers in all of our locations, we are not able to adjust to additional expenses simply by increasing our prices. As you can imagine, this delicate balance has caused us to carefully review the long-term viability of each location in Seattle, and we unfortunately came to the conclusion that the Greenwood Safeway and Aurora Albertsons do not have an opportunity to be profitable now or in the future.
These store closures are occurring despite the very best efforts of the store teams, and we are tremendously grateful for their dedication to the success of their stores. We will be working diligently to place as many employees as possible in nearby Safeway or Albertsons stores in a manner that is consistent with applicable law and/or labor agreement.