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When One Store Opens, Another One Closes

Food Lion is unveiling a new, easier shopping experience at its 92 locations in North and South Carolina.

The stores were remodeled at a cost of $158 million and an additional 2,000 associates were hired. The company has now remodeled 80% of its network of more than 1,000 locations across its 10-state operating area.

Customers can expect to see expanded variety and assortment across departments in each store, such as more local produce in Food Lion’s “Local Goodness” section, an expanded variety of craft beer, limited reserve wines and more local, natural, organic and gluten-free items.

There will be a greater selection of fresh produce and meat backed by the company’s double-your-money-back guarantee and a larger selection of Nature’s Promise beef, pork, poulty, milk, eggs, bottled water, cereal, coffee and other items. Nature’s Promise is Food Lion’s brand of organic products free from artificial flavors, preservatives and synthetic colors. Six of the stores will have walk-in produce coolers designed to keep items fresher for longer.

Additionally, stores will feature a more efficient checkout process and new signage and groupings of like products. Other investments included giving back to local communities as well, such as the donation of two mobile trucks to area food banks.

However, while Food Lion celebrates reopenings, other companies are closing down locations.

Fred’s Inc. is closing an additional 129 retail stores, leaving it with just 80 locations. The company is holding inventory clearance sales across all stores in an effort to refocus its product mix, simplify its portfolio and repay debt.

The company may evaluate re-launching certain closed stores in the future under a new operating model, with an updated assortment. Fred’s partnered with Malfitano Advisors, LLC to help with the clearance sales process and expects the proceeds to be used to repay outstanding indebtedness under its revolving credit agreement.

The discounted items may be permanently removed from Fred’s shelves following the sale, as the company focuses on stabilizing its business through simplifying assortment, according to Fred’s CEO Joseph Anto.

All pharmacies, including the 69 within the 129 closing stores, will remain open and the company will continue to fulfill prescriptions at its pharmacy locations, as it continues to pursue the sale of its remaining pharmacy locations and opportunities to monetize pieces of its real estate portfolio.

Meanwhile, Lunds & Byerlys will close all 14 of its pharmacy locations, reported Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. The Edina, MN-based grocery store chain will permanently shutter its pharmacies and transfer patient prescriptions to nearby Walgreens locations effective July 17, according to Lund Food Holdings Inc.

The store’s pharmacy business was recording significant losses and it has become “increasingly difficult for retail pharmacies given a number of economic challenges within the industry,” according to the company.

The pharmacies are all located in the Twin Cities metro area and are connected to existing Lunds & Byerlys stores. The company is remodeling the spaces, though it is unclear whether they will be converted into more grocery store space or used for another purpose.