Two sub-par Albertsons supermarkets in Irvine will close next month and will be replaced by H Mart Asian grocery stores.
In a statement released Monday, the Southern California division of Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions announced the closure of stores at 3931 Irvine Blvd. and 3825 Alton Parkway. They are expected to cease operations on February 19th.
“Like all retailers, we continuously evaluate the performance of our stores,” said the company. “Closing a store is always a tough decision, but we focus on growing our business by being the most popular local supermarket and having stores that people love to shop at.”
The store employees were informed of the imminent closings on January 5th. The company announced that its human resources team is working with employees and their union to share job opportunities in the surrounding stores.
Officials from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324, who represent the workers, said the move would “result in a loss of good union jobs to the city,” despite the organization being informed that members residing in other shops were losing theirs Wages and benefits are retained and seniority.
The closings affect around 60 employees at each location. Albertsons’s Irvine Boulevard is 52,120 square feet and the Alton Parkway store is 59,974 square feet.
H Mart stores offer a wide variety of groceries including meat, seafood, curries, ramen noodles, spices, seaweed, rice and grains, as well as nutritional supplements, beauty products, clothing and kitchen items. (Courtesy photo of H Mart)
The new H Mart supermarkets are slated to open by the end of the year.
H Mart is headquartered in Lyndhurst, New Jersey 97 locations across the country.
H Mart stores can be found across Southern California in Arcadia, Buena Park, Cerritos, Diamond Bar, Garden Grove, Irvine, Los Angeles, and Torrance. Additionally Shops can be found in San Diego and San Jose.
The Korean-American markets offer a wide variety of foods including meat, seafood, curry, ramen noodles, spices, seaweed, rice, and grains, as well as nutritional supplements, beauty products, clothing, and kitchen items.
Supermarkets were seen as important businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, but like other businesses that handle a large daily influx of shoppers, they have been grappling with virus outbreaks among workers.
In a recent NBC 4 report, 146 outbreaks were found in supermarkets in southern Los Angeles County and Orange County in the last month alone, according to UFCW Local 324. This includes breakouts in 31 Ralphs stores, 17 Vons and 16 Albertsons supermarkets.