As competition continues to flood into Richmond’s grocery market, one of the area’s big players is paring back.
Martin’s announced Friday it will close three of its 23 Richmond-area locations by summer 2016. The stores slated for closure are 3000 Stony Point Road in the Stony Point Shopping Center, 7324 Bell Creek Road in Mechanicsville and 3330 South Crater Road in Petersburg.
The company said the decision was made as all three stores approach the end of their respective leases.
“It’s a business decision,” Martin’s spokeswoman Samantha Krepps said. “We made the choice not to extend the leases for these stores. We wanted to give our employees enough notice.”
All three locations were previously Ukrop’s stores that opened around 2010, Krepps said, and were part of Martin’s acquisition of the longtime Richmond chain in 2010. Martin’s will still have 20 locations remaining the Richmond area after these closures.
The announcement comes as other grocery chains continue to pile on in the Richmond market. Kroger is putting more of its massive marketplace stores in the area; Walmart is expanding with locations of its all-grocery concept; and the German competitors Aldi and Lidl are one-upping each other with plans for new stores around the region.
And in the spring, the first area Wegmans store will open its doors, while Whole Foods has plans to open its first location within the city.
Martin’s shuttered one other location earlier this year on Staples Mill Road in the Dumbarton Square Shopping Center. At the time, a spokesman said the decision related to the store not meeting performance goals.
Krepps declined to say if performance issues also played a role in the latest closure announcement.
“It’s just that the leases have expired and we chose not to renew them,” she said.
The three stores support 357 associates, and all full-time employees will be able to apply to open positions at other stores and will be offered separation benefits. All part-time workers will be offered opportunities at other Martin’s locations.
Martin’s anchors the 73,000-square-foot Stony Point Shopping Center with a 40,000-square-foot store. It is owned by Illinois-based Next Realty and Washington, D.C.-based Verris Capital, which purchased it earlier this year. The owners did not return a request for comment by press time.
Martin’s is operated by Pennsylvania-based Giant/Martin’s, which is owned by Dutch conglomerate Ahold. Giant/Martin’s has nearly 200 grocery stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia with more than 33,000 employees.
Martin’s held the top spot in the Richmond grocery market share as of June, according to a Times-Dispatch report citing stats from industry publication Food World. The chain controlled 15.42 percent of grocery sales in the region, down about 1 percent from the year before. Walmart and Food Lion held the second and third spots in market share after growing their stakes.