Bashas’ Markets said Thursday that it would close an unspecified number of underperforming stores around the state to hold down costs in an “extremely challenging retail environment.”
Spokeswoman Kristy Nied said the exact number of stores has not been determined, but that it would only be a “handful.”
The number is thought to be between five and 10. A typical store has 100 to 150 workers so they affected jobs could range from 500 to 1,500.
Nied said the company would make every effort to find jobs for the impacted employees at other stores.
“It was one of the most difficult decisions we’ve made,” she said.
The announcement follows the closure of five Bashas’ stores earlier this year which affected between 500 and 750 jobs.
Those stores included two Bashas’ and a Food City Latin market in Phoenix, an Ike’s Farmers Market in Tucson and another Food City store in Yuma.
In addition to the jobs lost due to store closures, Bashas’ has had two rounds of layoffs in the past year that have eliminated about 550 corporate and support jobs.
The store closures are the result of increased competition and lower margins due to the recession. So far Bashas’ is the only supermarket chain to announce multiple closures, but analysts believe there could be more on the horizon.
There are six Bashas’ stores in Tucson and one at Dove Mountain in Marana. There are also eight Food City stores, and the high-end AJ’s Market at La Encantada.