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    Southern Family Markets to Close Birmingham, Ala. Stores

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Southern Family Markets LLC, an affiliate of Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers, said earlier it plans to exit the Birmingham, Ala market by mid-January as part of a plan to strengthen its core business.

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Southern Family Markets LLC, an affiliate of Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers, said earlier it plans to exit the Birmingham, Ala market by mid-January as part of a plan to strengthen its core business.

    The retailer said it will close all six stores in the market. Birmingham is the latest in a series of market exits for the regional chain. In 2006, it said it would sell or close its stores in both Tennessee and North Carolina.

    With the Birmingham exit, Southern Family Markets will still have 43 stores: four in Mississippi, 20 in Alabama, and 19 in Georgia, C&S spokeswoman Karen Adelman told Progressive Grocer yesterday. "The [company's] intent is to focus on the remaining stores in these markets," she said.

    The chain said in a statement that it will continue to evaluate stores on an individual basis, adding that its objective is to "increase profitability and grow into a strong regional competitor."

    "Closing stores is always a difficult decision to make; however, we will do the right things for our people," said Bill White, c.o.o. of Southern Family Markets. "Going forward, we expect to focus on markets with newer facilities and a stronger market presence."

    The Birmingham stores will begin holding going-out-of-business sales on Jan. 6, Adelman said. Those sales will start at 40 percent off.

    The company said it will work with labor representatives to assist associates affected by the closings.

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