CLINTON, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Food Lion supermarket chain announced it intends to close over one hundred grocery stores nationwide. The closures are set to take place over the next 30 days and affect 4,900 employees.
Delhaize America, the corporation which owns Food Lion, said it will close 113 "underperforming" stores, focusing mainly on areas where there aren't too many Food Lions. The Salisbury, NC-based company also will convert 64 Bloom and Bottom Dollar grocery stores into Food Lions and eliminate the Bloom brand.
"Food Lion is focused on repositioning our business for future growth," said Cathy Green Burns, president of Food Lion. "By closing underperforming stores, we will continue to position Food Lion for success, especially in light of our brand strategy results"
Twenty-five Food Lions in East Tennessee are scheduled to close, including stores in Knoxville, Clinton, Maryville, Morristown, Sevierville, Greenville, Johnson City, and Athens and the company is greatly reducing operations at a distribution center in Clinton is displacing about 1,100 workers.
"While these were difficult decisions given the impact on our associates, customers and communities, we believe these actions will enable us to better serve our customers in our markets with high density, while positioning the company for future growth," said Ron Hodge, CEO of Delhaize America.
Food Lion spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown said a severance package is being offered to eligible employees affected by the parent company's decision to close underperforming stores.
Phillips-Brown said 32 Food Lion stores with about 1,300 employees in Tennessee will continue operating.