Five San Luis Obispo County grocery stores are closing in the next two months, following an announcement by Haggen Food and Pharmacy that it plans to exit the Pacific Southwest market and "realign" around 37 core stores — all in the Pacific Northwest.
The company, which already had said it would close its store in Los Osos, will now close its remaining stores: two in the city of San Luis Obispo, and one each in Arroyo Grande, Atascadero and Paso Robles.
“Haggen plans to continue to build its brand in partnership with its dedicated corporate support and store teams. Haggen has a long record of success in the Pacific Northwest and these identified stores will have the best prospect for ongoing excellence,” said John Clougher, chief executive officer of Haggen Pacific Northwest, in a news release Thursday.
“Although this has been a difficult process and experience, we will remain concentrated in the Pacific Northwest where we began, focusing on fresh Northwest products and continuing our support and involvement in the communities we serve.”
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In December 2014, Haggen bought 146 Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Safeway stores, including 83 in California, after the Federal Trade Commission ordered Albertsons and Safeway to sell the stores in light of their merger.
The purchase included the six locations in San Luis Obispo County.
Since the switch, Haggen has had an embattled tenure in Southern California, where competition was tight and the chain was hammered with complaints of higher prices and layoffs.
The company announced in August that it would close its Los Osos store at 1330 Los Osos Valley Road, among others statewide, in an effort to streamline and improve operations. The store is slated to close in October.
Haggen sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 8, which allows it to fend off creditors while working out a plan to repay debts.
The five other San Luis Obispo County locations are slated to close in 60 days, following Thursday's announcement.
According to a news release, the company has been actively working to explore market interest for its store locations in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Nevada as part of its bankruptcy filing. Haggen is asking the federal Bankruptcy Court for approval to conduct store closing sales.
All affected employees will receive 60-day notice of the pending store and office closures, according to the news release. During this process, all stores will remain open, and employees will continue to receive their pay and benefits.