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    Schnucks Will Shutter DeSoto, Mo. Store Next Week

    ST. LOUIS -- Schnuck Markets, Inc. will close a namesake store at 20 Jefferson Square in DeSoto, Mo. next Saturday, Feb. 26. All of the store's 36 associates will be offered opportunities to transfer to other stores.

    ST. LOUIS -- Schnuck Markets, Inc. will close a namesake store at 20 Jefferson Square in DeSoto, Mo. next Saturday, Feb. 26. All of the store's 36 associates will be offered opportunities to transfer to other stores.

    Schnucks acquired the former National supermarket in 1995 as part of an agreement with Loblaw Cos., Ltd. The store, last remodeled in 1997, and received additional renovations in May 2003 after a tornado swept off its roof.

    Craig D. Schnuck, chairman and c.e.o. of the privately held chain, said the DeSoto store has always been a challenging operation because of its size. "At only 25,000 square feet, it's less than half the size of our traditional format. There just wasn't enough space for a pharmacy or many of the other products and features that have been popular in other Schnucks stores," he noted.

    However, the greatest contributing factor, according to Schnuck, is the Wal-Mart supercenter that opened less than one mile away in October 2004.

    "Offering pay and benefit levels substantially below what we pay union associates, Wal-Mart is in a much better position to attract and retain area consumers," said Schnuck. "After careful consideration of the market and the strength of the competition, we have determined that it is impossible for us to recover lost sales volume or to return the store to profitability."

    Although the company will offer transfers to all associates, Schnuck fears alternate sites may prove too far for some to travel. "Every store closing is difficult, but this one is particularly so, as it may result in the loss of union jobs. We will be able to transfer some associates to our Festus location -- approximately 17 miles away -- but unfortunately there won't be positions for everyone. We will do everything we can to make this transition a smooth one for both our customers and our associates."

    Schnuck Markets currently operates 102 stores (including five Logli stores) and 96 pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Mississippi.

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