Kroger plans to close three Mid-South stores on February 3rd.
The locations include South Third, Lamar Avenue and South State Street in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Company officials say the three stores have lost more than $6 million since 2014.
The families who use these stores say it will be a huge blow to the community. Kroger says it’s because of declining sales. According to a press release sent by Kroger, all associates will be offered positions at neighboring stores.
Local 24 spoke to customers at these stores to get their reaction to the news.
“A little sad, a little sad we’ve got a lot of memories here,” said Christie Willhite, who lives in Orange Mound. “A lot of people don’t have vehicles and having to ride the bus to get so far to the grocery store, Save a lot is not as good as Kroger.”
“In its absence what is the community going to do to be able to fill that void, so I’m really concerned,” said Britney Thornton, who shops at the Kroger on Lamar Avenue.
Kroger announced the stores closings after reviewing the store’s profits.
“The first question I asked is why and they said they were losing money. In 2017 the store on Lamar lost $600,000 and from 2014 to present they lost 2.6 million,” said Jamita Swearengen, who represents Memphis City Council District 4.
Residents say the move will strongly affect senior citizens because of the store pharmacies closing and those who rely on public transportation will now be forced to travel to a different store farther away.
“I stay almost walking distance from here but now it’s going to be almost impossible. If you don’t own a car like I don’t to go and get groceries,” said Brittany Woodard, who shops at the Kroger on South Third Street.
Closing the Kroger on Lamar will also close Tri-State Bank, one of two African American banks left in the city.
“Why in the black communities why are we now experiencing food deserts when other communities are becoming vibrant, they are improving their Kroger stores, we just feel slighted,” Swearengen explained.
Kroger Delta Division President released this statement:
“Closing stores is always a difficult business decision to make,” said Scot Hendricks, president Kroger Delta Division. “We review our store’s performance annually and unfortunately, despite our store team’s best efforts, profits steadily continued to decline at all three stores. We are still committed to serving in the areas we operate, especially our Memphis area stores. Over the years, we have made significant improvements and investments in the Memphis area including upgrades to our Poplar Plaza (3444 Poplar Plaza), Kirby Parkway (2835 Kirby Parkway), Truse
Parkway (799 Truse Parkway), Poplar and Cleveland (1366 Poplar Ave) Kroger Stores plus the new Union Avenue Store (1759 Union Ave). We want to thank our Clarksdale and Memphis associates, customers and community for their support.”
Councilwoman Swearengen and Councilman Edmund Ford will be having a news conference Friday about the Kroger closings. They worry the move will create blight in the city and could raise the crime rate.