Lucky's Market announced Jan. 27 that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but has signed agreements with Aldi and Publix Super Markets to acquire 11 of its locations.
The chain will close 20 of its 21 stores in Florida by Feb. 12, confirmed Jason Rief, Lucky’s regional store director. Plans to open 14 other stores across the state have been cancelled.
Only the Lucky’s in West Melbourne will remain open, Rief said.
In a recent update, Lucy’s announced that Aldi will take five of Lucky's leased properties and purchase one that Lucky's owns. Publix also will take five leased locations.
Lucky's did not say which properties Aldi and Publix will acquire.
Liquidation sales began Wednesday with inventory marked down 25%, Rief said. The discount will increase as the shutdown date grows closer, he said.
The company has about 2,500 employees in Florida and 4,000 nationwide, Rief said. Displaced employees will receive severance pay.
Lucky’s carved a niche by offering mid-priced meat, seafood, juices, and prepared foods, and healthy, locally sourced goods.
Memorably, Lucky’s encourages shoppers to “sip ’n’ stroll” by selling beer for $2 and wine for $3 in glasses that fit into cup holders attached to its shopping carts.
After a portfolio review, Lucky’s primary financial backer, Kroger, announced that it planned to divest its ownership share, throwing the chain’s future into uncertainty.
The two companies never revealed how much Kroger had invested, saying only that it was a “meaningful” sum. Lucky’s is not publicly traded.
Lucky’s Market plans to close all its Florida stores except one in Melbourne. Liquidation sales will start Wednesday, and the stores will all close by Feb. 12.
Kroger, which has no stores in Florida, reportedly saw Lucky’s as a way to gain a foothold in the state without battling with market leaders Publix and Walmart.
Asked why the Florida stores could not survive without Kroger, Rief surmised “the dollars per square foot [of occupied space] probably wasn’t enough.”
Unfortunately, Lucky’s expanded very fast after Kroger became involved. They became spread too thin, took some questionable real estate. They had a huge number of underperforming stores that were not sustainable.