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King Kullen closing several stores

Long Island grocery chain’s acquisition by Stop & Shop still being finalized

King Kullen Grocery Co. is shutting three supermarkets amid the Long Island, N.Y., retailer’s pending acquisition by Ahold Delhaize USA’s Stop & Shop chain.

Plans call for King Kullen to close its 33,000-square-foot store in Lake Ronkonkoma on Aug. 22 and its 39,200-square-foot store in North Babylon on Sept. 26. Its 45,400-square-foot supermarket in Mt. Sinai was closed on June 20.

Altogether, the stores employed 192 workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 1500 and 342.

“Employees will be reassigned, and no layoffs are anticipated. These stores were underperforming, and the decision was made to close rather than renew leases that were coming due,” said Lloyd Singer, a spokesman for King Kullen.

With the Mt. Sinai store’s closing, Bethpage, N.Y.-based King Kullen now operates 31 King Kullen supermarkets and five Wild by Nature natural/organic grocery stores in Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Stop & Shop announced the acquisition of King Kullen in early January. At the time, the Quincy, Mass.-based retailer said it hadn’t made any plans in terms of King Kullen banner conversions or store closings.

The three King Kullen store closings were a business decision by King Kullen, whose acquisition by Stop & Shop hasn’t yet been finalized, according to Stop & Shop spokeswoman Stefanie Shuman.

“With regard to the sale, Stop & Shop continues to work through customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals relative to its acquisition of King Kullen Grocery Co., and the transaction has not yet closed,” Shuman said.

Founded in 1930 by Michael J. Cullen, King Kullen is recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as the America’s first “supermarket.”

Along with traditional grocery, King Kullen stores feature a large catering and prepared foods department, fresh-baked breads and sweets, healthy and organic product areas, pharmacies and health care products, as well as banking and online shopping services. The Wild by Nature natural food store banner was introduced in 1995. Over the years, however, King Kullen has seen its store count shrink amid rising competition from bigger supermarket chains, mass merchants, hard-discount grocery stores and, more recently, online grocery services.

Stop & Shop has 51 supermarkets on Long Island. The chain is currently upgrading those locations as part of a five-year program to bring a new look and shopping experience to its 412 stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.

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