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Shaw’s to close 6 N.H. supermarkets, including in Tilton, but Concord’s two stores are safe for now

Hundreds of people could lose their jobs in coming weeks as Shaw’s prepares to close six of its 34 New Hampshire supermarkets. The chain’s Concord stores appear safe for now.

Stores in Tilton, Goffstown, Manchester, West Lebanon, Seabrook and Keene will all close by Sept. 2, the company announced this week.

They employ about 450 people in total, but the company plans to transfer an as-yet-unknown number of employees to nearby stores in an effort to minimize the number of layoffs, said company spokesman Steve Sylven.

The state Department of Resources and Economic Development said it doesn’t know how many Shaw’s employees will lose their jobs, but officials plan to reach out to them.

“We are making plans to mobilize our rapid response team in the next two weeks,” wrote Lorna Colquhoun, an agency spokeswoman, in an email. “It will meet with affected employees at the stores, providing them with resources for job training and counseling and other information to help them find new jobs.”

Shaw’s operates two stores in Concord. One is on Fort Eddy Road, also home to a Market Basket and a Hannaford. The second is at the intersection of D’Amante Drive and Loudon Road, near the Steeplegate Mall, and is the only supermarket on the Heights, though groceries are also sold at Target and Walmart.

Both will remain open.

“While we continuously evaluate the viability of our stores, we do not have any current plans to close any additional stores at this time,” Sylven wrote in an email.

Shaw’s operates in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The company laid off 700 employees, or about 4 percent of its workforce, in November, and announced earlier this month it would close four stores in Massachusetts and two in Rhode Island.

Sylven said the six New Hampshire stores now slated for closure are unprofitable.

“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,” Sylven wrote.

Shaw’s has struggled in recent years and is losing market share, said Jon Springer, associate editor at Supermarket News, a trade publication. Minnesota-based Supervalu Inc. sold the chain this year to Cerberus Capital Management, a New York-based private equity firm.

“The company’s been bought and sold a couple times over the years, and I think they’ve needed some capital investment in those stores that really hasn’t been made, particularly while they were under Supervalu over the last couple of years. I think that’s made a difference,” Springer said. “In the meantime, you’ve got companies like Market Basket, Stop & Shop, some of their competitors becoming more aggressive with pricing action, opening new stores, renovating existing stores.”

The Shaw’s at 75 Laconia Road in Tilton opened in 1998. Residents won’t be left without options when it closes, said Town Administrator Joyce Fulweiler, since Tilton also has a Hannaford, a Market Basket and a Walmart that sell groceries.

But the Shaw’s is also a pillar of the town and provides significant support for local groups, said Pat Consentino, chairwoman of the Tilton Board of Selectmen.

“It’s going to be a profound loss for our community, that’s for sure,” she said.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

Shaw's has always been pricey! When Sainsbury owned them, they were subsidizing that British company for many a year. I'm sorry, but paying more for something doesn't make it better quality. $12 for a lb of Roast Beef? Seriously? Their organic section was really over rated! I remember price comparing when my kids were in diapers. The same brand and pack, right down the same barcode... had a $15.00 difference from Walmart! When Albertson's bought them, it was felt by many that Albertsons would take what ever money they could from them, drive them into the ground and sell. And it appears to have happened a couple times over! As a former employee who left on his own accord in 2004... it wasn't a matter of "if"... rather of "when". Time to take the garbage out!

To disagree with a President's policies has nothing to do with hatred, anymore than it has to do with race. I know the left wants to make the debate about race and hatred, but that is a cop out and an easy way to avoid discussing his policies, or the results of his policies. When Bush was in office, the rhetoric from the left was not what I would call civil. Since President Obama was elected, the left has tried to shut down discussing his policies, used the race card, and believed everything the media has tried to pass off as facts. We all want our President no matter who he is to succeed, unfortunately, this President has decided to divide us, has championed policies that have not worked, and refuses to be transparent or compromise..

So commenting on an article about Shaw's closing six stores bringing up Obama doesn't sound like hatred and obsession to you? Anyway I personally didn't hate Bush, I just thought he was dumb (still do) but I did hate Chaney (still do) because he was the real president. Actually your last sentence is correct in all aspects except one, you should have substituted House Republicans for Obama and mentioned obstructionism.

Not really Tillie. I was here when Shaws on Ft Eddy opened. It was a terrific store. The one that opened up by the Mall was also a terrific place to shop. But when the economy got bad, I could not afford to shop at Shaws, The demise of shaws has to do with high prices, but in a good economy I could afford to get better stuff at Shaws and pay the price, So the economy is a factor.When the economy sinks, you stop buying at say Joe Kings and switch to Payless Shoes. I never thought Bush was dumb. he never gets enough credit for his work on AIDS . Every president has pluses and minuses. The left refuses to acknowledge President Obama's minuses. They get away with it because the media also fails to acknowledge his mistakes. So President Obama gets a huge pass from a media that is biased. And as a result, voters are left uninformed.

I agree with the idea that Shaws is way overpriced. When the new one came in at the mall the prices were low at first and killed the Shaws at Ft Eddy. Then the prices started inching up. So much so, that I actually thought the cashier made a mistake. Most of us shop at Market Basket and Hanafords. Shaws is just too darn expensive. We cannot afford to pay more. simple as that. Shaws priced themselves out of business. Charge too much and folks will go elsewhere. it is called competition.

Obama Economy has nothing to do with this,its Shaws super high prices on a majority of items and its been that way forever.i do shop at Shaws but do not do my regular shopping there for just that reason.they should have dropped that card and lowered prices many years ago,not last month.

Maybe Shaw's management should take a look at what Market Basket and Hannaford are doing. Their prices are lower! Simple, come down on your prices and maybe people will shop there. Obama economy has nothing to do with it.

Welcome to the Obama Economy

Sail, where did this partisan non sequitur come from? Care to bet your weekly food budget that you won't give "the Obama Economy" credit for the Hannaford's apparent good condition and Market Basket's smashing success?

Sail, Van, Ittsa and a couple others are so full of Obama hatred that they see everything through it's prism. So it is really useless to have any kind of discussion with them because they can not be objective about anything without bringing in Obama. It gets boring to read them.

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