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    Schnucks Buys 2 Stores, Acquires Lease on Third

    The acquisition brings Schnucks' store total to 105, with 14 in East Metro St. Louis.

    Schnuck Markets, Inc. said Monday it had purchased two Illinois grocery stores and acquired the lease on a third unit. All three stores were previously owned and operated by the Sher family of Schnucks' hometown, St. Louis, through the family's management company, The Homer Group.

    Schnucks said all three stores will close Oct. 20. It will convert two of the stores, the O'Fallon Hart Food & Drug and the Bethalto Park N Shop, to its eponymous banner and reopen them Oct. 23. The third, the Godfrey Park N Shop, will stay closed.

    "The addition of the O'Fallon and Bethalto stores will significantly expand our ability to provide goods and services to customers on the Illinois side of the river," said Scott Schnuck, chairman and ceo. "Although we have acquired the lease on the Godfrey location, we will not reopen that store.  Those associates will be offered positions at other Schnucks locations including the newly remodeled Godfrey Schnucks store just two miles away."

    Homer Group President Merwyn Sher acknowledged that the close of the Godfrey store was inevitable. "That store has been struggling for some time now," Sher said. "The Wal-Mart supercenter opening in 2009 would have been the final straw."

     The acquisition agreement came together following the announcement of the Sept. 19 closing of Sher's East St. Louis location. "Faced with the close of a second store (Godfrey), we were seriously concerned about our ability to find jobs for all employees and operate successfully with only two remaining stores," Sher said.

    Associates at all three locations will have the opportunity to join the Schnucks organization at comparable wages and benefits, the leading regional grocer said. As part of the transition, both Schnucks and Sher will have discussions with leaders of their respective unions. They do not anticipate any significant issues.

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