No Word On Shaw’s Successor
West Lebanon — The future of a 66,000-square-foot retail building in Upper Valley Plaza is on hold until Shaw’s vacates the space, a spokeswoman for the shopping center owner said Friday.
Shaw’s has said that the store would be closed no later than Sept. 2, but Massachusetts-based WS Development, owner of the Upper Valley Plaza, has not been notified when the building will be vacated, said Laurel Sibert, vice president of corporate marketing.
“When we have possession of the store, then we will be proactive in finding a new tenant. It’s possible that it could be another grocery chain or other big-box tenant,” Sibert said.
Efforts will be made to find the 70 full- and part-time employees at the Upper Valley Plaza store other positions in the nearby Benning Street store or in other Upper Valley Shaw’s, spokesman Steve Sylven said last week. Shaw’s has stores in Newport, Randolph and Springfield, Vt.
No closings are planned for the 19 Shaw’s stores in Vermont, he said.
The 320,000-square-foot Upper Valley Plaza on Route 12A was approved for expansion last year, but WS Development hasn’t started construction or named a tenant. The company is always looking for opportunities to expand, and the opening of the Shaw’s building might offer the chance to find another anchor tenant, she said.
Shaw’s Supermarkets announced last week that six New Hampshire stores, along with six stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, would close in the next few weeks.
In addition to the Upper Valley Plaza store, New Hampshire Shaw’s in Seabrook, Goffstown, Manchester, Tilton and Keene are closing. The stores have not been profitable, the company said.
“As a company and as responsible business owners, it is imperative to the overall health and future of the company that we run profitable stores,” Shaw’s said in a statement last week.
“The stores identified have not been profitable for quite some time, and despite the best efforts of the company and our associates — including recent pricing and marketing initiatives — we have not been able to reposition them to better compete in the marketplace and don’t anticipate being able to change this trend.”
“While we continuously evaluate the viability of our stores, we do not have any current plans to close any additional stores at this time. This is not reflective of the overall health of Shaw’s and Star Market,” the company said. “The company has, and will, continue to make investments into our business as we look to regain our position as the pre-eminent grocer in New England. Part of that is making the difficult but necessary decisions like closing stores to ensure the long-term viability of Shaw’s and Star Market.”
Including the 12 stores marked for closing this month, Shaw’s operates 169 stores, including 33 in New Hampshire.
Shaw’s got its start in 1860 when George C. Shaw opened his first store in Portland, Maine. A few years later, Maynard A. Davis opened his first Public Markets in Brockton and Beford, Mass. The businesses later merged to form Shaw’s Supermarkets. The chain has approximately 25,000 employees in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, according to the company’s website.
In November, Shaw’s announced it would lay off 700 employees in an effort to “regroup and end” financial losses.
Two months later, Cerberus Capital Management bought 877 stores in the Albertson’s, Acme, Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s and Star Market chains from SuperValu for $100 million in cash and $3.2 billion of SuperValu debt. The deal closed in March.
The Upper Valley Plaza Shaw’s has suffered from competition from the chain’s bigger store on Benning Street and from Price Chopper’s two stores, the new Hannaford store and the three Hanover and Lebanon Co-op Food Stores.
Warren Johnston can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3216.