Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, announced Thursday it will close 94 stores in seven states, including 10 in the Tampa Bay area.
"That's really sad to hear because there's not another grocery store really close", said Hart. The timeframe in which the stores will close is not yet known.
Winn-Dixie will also spare one Bonita Springs location and one Fort Myers store. Nearly 600 stores will still be open across seven states in the South.
According to the company, with a deleveraged balance sheet and an optimal store base, Southeast Grocers "will be able to focus its resources on stores with the greatest potential for growth and improve the financial health of the overall business". It said it intends to file with the bankruptcy court by the end of March.
"We have not taken these steps without careful planning and consideration", a news release said.
The store closures are in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and SC.
At the same time, the company has stressed that it will go on thriving with its other 582 successful stores.
Southeastern Grocers recently renewed its lease for the Winn-Dixie store in the Holly Hill Marketplace shopping center at LPGA Boulevard and Nova Road for another five years, confirmed Sam Jaffe, execitive vice president and director of leasing for The Jaffe Corp., which owns the retail plaza. The company plans to emerge from bankruptcy within 90 days, it said.
Staff at each store closing will inform pharmacy customers where their accounts will be transferred to.
Southeastern executives say the planned restructuring should put it in better financial position, including a $500 million reduction in debt.