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
email@example.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)