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    Dominick's to Shut 14 Stores by Spring; Convert 20 to Lifestyle

    OAKBROOK, Ill. - Safeway's Dominick's division here said it will close 14 underperforming stores in the metro Chicago area by early April, and will convert 20 other stores to the company's Lifestyle format in 2007.

    OAKBROOK, Ill. - Safeway's Dominick's division here said it will close 14 underperforming stores in the metro Chicago area by early April, and will convert 20 other stores to the company's Lifestyle format in 2007.

    Chicago's second-ranked grocer said it will concurrently identify new sites for store development opportunities, the first of which will open later this year at Chicago and Damen Streets in the city of Chicago.

    "These are necessary steps that will help position Dominick's business for success and expansion in Chicagoland," said Don Keprta, Dominick's president. "Our Lifestyle stores are meeting the needs of our customers and we look forward to serving them through this format into the future."

    By the end of 2007, the chain expects to have converted half of its stores to the Lifestyle format. It has already completed 20 Lifestyle remodels in the region, and opened a state-of-the-art Lifestyle store in downtown Chicago.

    "We are encouraged by the favorable consumer response to our Lifestyle stores, and intend to build on that momentum in the coming year," said Keprta.

    The market's second largest grocery chain by market share, after Jewel, Dominick's will shrink to 83 stores after the store closures. Dominick's once boasted well over 100 Chicago-area stores, but closed a dozen in 2004.

    Although Dominick's parent company, Safeway Inc., will incur some lease exit costs associated with the store closures, it said it expected the costs to be offset by the elimination of operating losses from the closed units and other unrelated real estate gains.

    Dominick's said it anticipates that current job openings and increased sales at the new and remodeled Lifestyle stores would create employment opportunities for many of employees at the stores to be closed.

    The planned closures are at the following units: 8847 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview; 968 Sibley Blvd., Calumet City; 3300 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago; 6623 N. Damen Ave., Chicago; 5829 S. Archer Ave., Chicago; 13180 S. Cicero Ave., Crestwood; 7241 Lemont Rd., Downers Grove; 535 Dundee Ave., East Dundee; 325 E. Army Trail Rd., Glendale Heights; 1020 Waukegan Rd., Glenview; 1295 E. Ogden Ave., Naperville; 8900 Greenwood Ave., Niles; 7401 W. 25th St., North Riverside; and 722 E. Rollins Rd., Round Lake Beach.

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