Two underperforming 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 by February 19.
“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.”
Shop workers were informed of the upcoming closings on January 5th. The company said its HR team was working with employees and their union to share job opportunities in nearby 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 placed in other stores were losing theirs Retain wages and benefits and seniority.
Around 60 employees at each location are affected by the closings. Albertsons’s Irvine Boulevard is 52,120 square feet and the Alton Parkway store is 59,974 square feet.
The H Mart stores offer a wide variety of groceries including meat, seafood, curry, ramen noodles, condiments, 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 due to open by the end of the year.
H Mart is headquartered in Lyndhurst, NJ 97 locations nationwide.
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.
A recent NBC 4 report recorded 146 outbreaks in supermarkets in southern Los Angeles County and Orange County alone last month, according to data from UFCW, Local 324. That includes outbreaks at 31 Ralphs stores, 17 Vons and 16 Albertson’s supermarkets.