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    Publix Pushes Forward with Reopening of New and Ex-Albertson's Units

    The Lakeland, Fla.-based grocer just opened the second converted Albertson's store, and has a slate of openings planned through the year and beyond.

    Publix Super Markets has begun reopening the Florida Albertson's stores it acquired last June as converted Publix units. The first converted former Albertson's store opened Oct. 22 in Pensacola with another opening the next day in St. Petersburg, Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous told Progressive Grocer yesterday.

    The latest reopened store, a 68,000-square-foot unit in St. Petersburg, is across the street from another smaller but still thriving Publix. The company said there are more than enough shoppers to ensure profitability of both stores, even in such close proximity.

    According to a report in the St. Petersburg Times, the chain plans the following openings in the area:

    • November: 2770 West Bay Drive, Belleair Bluffs
    • November: 3900 66th St. N, St. Petersburg
    • November: Beckett Lake Plaza, 1921 N Belcher Road, Clearwater
    • November: 35439 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor
    • December: Walsingham Commons, 13031 Walsingham Road, Largo
    • January: Seville Square, 3030 54th Ave. S, St. Pete
    • January: Clearwater Plaza, 1295 S Missouri Ave.
    • June: Shoppes at Royale, 1600 66th St. N, St. Pete
    • December 2009: 3825 East Bay Drive, Largo
    • January 2010: 4701 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park

    The southeastern grocer purchased 49 Albertson's stores in Central and North Florida in June of this year. It is going ahead with conversion and reopening plans despite the current tough economic times facing the nation, its Southeastern markets included.

    "The economy has not affected or delayed our scheduled/projected store openings with the acquisitions or in any of our operating states," Brous told Progressive Grocer. "We are grateful for our loyal customer and associate base. Even in tough economic times, customers need to eat and we're providing them with affordable, tasty meal solutions across our stores."

    All Publix's acquired stores will be converted over the next 18 months, Brous said.

    "A little over 20 (former Albertson's) stores are expected to open prior to the end of the year," she said.

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