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Albertsons closes a Food4Less store

VanWinkle location was one of the 3 purchased last month

Albertsons has closed one of the three Salt Lake-area supermarkets it agreed to buy last month from Fleming Cos. Inc.

Boise-based Albertsons said in February that it would purchase three local Food4Less stores from Dallas-based Fleming. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Albertsons spokeswoman Karianne Cole said Tuesday that the company closed the Food4Less store at 5504 S. Van Winkle Expressway when the Fleming deal was completed on Friday. However, Albertsons continues to operate stores at 729 N. Redwood Road and 1585 W. 3500 South in West Valley City under the Food4Less banner.

"We just have decided not to continue operating that (Van Winkle) store," Cole said.

"We offered the majority of the associates at the Van Winkle store jobs at the other two Food4Less stores. As I understand it, over 90 percent of them have accepted those job offers."

Cole said Albertsons is considering several options for the Van Winkle property, but she declined to elaborate.

The transaction with Fleming, which also included Albertsons' purchase of two Rainbow stores in El Paso, Texas, increases the chain's Utah store count to 48 and its Texas store count to 152.

Bob Colgrove, president of Albertsons Intermountain Division, said in a prepared statement that the purchase of the Food4Less stores was a "win" for the neighborhoods in which they are located.

"The warehouse format of the Food4Less stores in Salt Lake City will give Albertsons yet another store format to meet the diverse shopping needs of our customers and maximize our success in serving the Salt Lake City area," Colgrove said.

Cole said Albertsons has operated similar warehouse-format stores in other markets — notably three Super Saver stores in Southern California — to great success.

"The acquisition of Food4Less gives us the opportunity to sort of experiment and find out what we can offer our customers," she said, and that is why Albertsons decided to keep the Food4Less name on the stores.

"We really feel that the customers in that area want to continue shopping at Food4Less, and we think we can provide the best values for them that way," she said.

Albertsons operates about 2,300 retail stores in 31 states.