Albertsons store closures show industry's travails

Jackie Dancy has been to the Albertsons supermarket near her Baldwin Hills home many times, but she couldn't care less that the store is closing permanently.

The retired accountant now does most of her grocery shopping at a nearby Target, which she likes for its convenience and low prices.

"It's much cleaner and well stocked," Dancy said. "They always have what you need."

Supermarkets are a staple of most neighborhoods, but their community status and financial well-being are under intense assault from rivals of all sizes that have steadily siphoned off the grocers' customers.

The supermarket industry's latest travails came Wednesday when Albertsons' parent company, Supervalu Inc., announced that it would close 26 stores this year, including 18 in Southern California, as it grapples with steep losses. Including other chains it operates, Supervalu is shutting about 60 stores nationwide.

Albertsons stores in Glendale, Long Beach, Riverside and Anaheim are among those scheduled to be shut by December. A Culver City location was eliminated last month. The company characterized the stores as underperforming or nonstrategic.

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-- Walter Hamilton and Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times

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