Winn Dixie looks to sell county stores

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Four Winn Dixie locations in Shelby County will close or be sold in the coming days. Three other stores will escape the company’s ax, according to the company’s website,

On June 21, Winn Dixie Stores Inc. announced actions intended to enhance the company’s financial performance and position for its profitability in the long term.

The company reported that the cornerstone of its plan consists of focusing on its strongest markets, where it typically has a significant market share position, and reducing the store &uot;footprint&uot; from 913 stores in the United States and the Bahamas to 587.

On July 1, the company reported that it had filed motions in Bankruptcy Court seeking authorization to sell 79 stores to new owners who intend to continue to operate them on an ongoing basis.

A company press release stated, &uot;This is our preference as supermarket companies give our associates a greater opportunity for continued employment and will provide a grocery store for the neighborhood.&uot;

The company also reported that it is seeking court authorization to conduct store-closing sales at locations that it is unable to sell at the auction as food and beverage stores.

The court is expected to rule on these motions at a hearing

July 27-29.

On the list of those in Shelby County to sell or close are:

Alabaster Market Center at 124 Market Center Drive, Alabaster.

Oak Mountain Marketplace, 2244 Highway 31 S, Pelham.

Brook Highland Plaza, 5201 Highway 280 S, Birmingham.

Columbiana Square, 275 Columbiana Square, Columbiana.

Stores in the county not slated to be sold or closed include Helena Marketplace, 335 Helena Marketplace, Helena; Chelsea Corners, 150 Chelsea Corners, Chelsea; and Valleydale Marketplace, 2653 Valleydale Road, Birmingham.

Joan Gage, vice president of advertising and marketing in Jacksonville, Fla. said the average store employs about 70 people depending upon the size.

&uot;We try our best if stores are sold to grocery stores to have our employees interviewed (for job positions),&uot; she said