Kroger is closing its Raleigh grocery stores on New Bern Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in January.
The company said in a news release that the stores were losing money.
“Due to lowering financial returns, the difficult decision was made to close the locations in an effort to maintain the grocer’s commitment to low prices and quality food products for customers across North Carolina,” the release said. “Although Kroger has continued to use its resources to improve each location, both have been unprofitable for the company.”
The two stores employ 196 people. The workforce is unionized, and some of the workers may find jobs at Kroger’s remaining 14 locations in the Triangle, said Carl York, advertising and public relations manager for the company’s mid-Atlantic region.
“There’s a process they go through to see if we can get them placed in another store,” he said.
York said Kroger has no plans to close any of its other stores in the Triangle – the only North Carolina market where it has a presence. The Cincinnati-based company has been expanding in other parts of the country, but York said there are no plans to add stores here at the moment.
“Certainly that market is an outstanding market and we need to get our base there strong so that we can continue to invest,” he said of the Triangle.
The Kroger store at 4111 New Bern Ave. in Southeast Raleigh opened in 1993; the store at 1610 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, just east of downtown, opened in 2002. The closings mean residents in that part of the city will have few grocery options nearby, particularly if they rely on public transportation. The nearest competitor to the two stores is a Food Lion on Raleigh Boulevard.
The Triangle’s economic strength and growing population has made it one of the more competitive markets for grocers in the country. Last year, Kroger closed its North Raleigh store in the Wakefield Commons shopping center because it also failed to meet sales expectations.