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Dominick’s going-out-of-business process likely to vary by store

A Dominick's grocery store Streeterville neighborhood 255 E. GrAve. was fully stocked with holiday merchandise Wednesday night Nov. 20 though

A Dominick's grocery store in the Streeterville neighborhood at 255 E. Grand Ave. was fully stocked with holiday merchandise on Wednesday night, Nov. 20, though experts say shoppers will see inventory — especially perishables — grow scarce as the store prepares to close by year's end. | Sandra Guy/Sun-Times

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Chicago expansion

In addition to the 11 Dominick’s stores that Mariano’s has agreed to buy from Safeway, Mariano’s will build these new stores in 2014:

• Lake Zurich, northwest corner of Highway 22 and Quentin, expected to open in the first three months of next year.

• Chicago, Ravenswood neighborhood, northwest corner of Lawrence and Ravenswood, expected to open between April and June.

• Chicago, Bucktown neighborhood, southwest corner of Ashland and Webster, midyear.

• Evergreen Park, 2601 W. 95th, between July and September.

• Glenview, northeast corner of Golf and Waukegan, between October and end of December.

Source: Mariano’s

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Updated: January 9, 2014 6:03AM

Whether their stores are shutting down or transitioning to new owners, Dominick’s shoppers may not find all their favorite foods on the shelves in the last few weeks, but the reduced inventory may be offset by some unexpected sales.

That is because grocers preparing for either scenario must get rid of excess inventory and spoilable produce, whether that’s by marking down perishables or donating the leftovers to local food banks.

Dominick’s insiders who asked not to be named speculated that sales of have-to-go items would start at 10 to 20 percent off and ramp up from there.

Because the sales are happening so quickly, it’s unlikely that parent firm Safeway Inc. will hire an outside company or pay for refrigerated trucks to ship perishables to other Safeway stores or to wholesale buyers, the sources say.

Dominick’s, which is closing all of its 68 Chicago-area stores that remain unsold on Dec. 28, said in its bidding notices that the company would be willing to sell certain inventory to other stores.

Shoppers at 11 Dominick’s stores being sold to Roundy’s, the Milwaukee-based parent company of Mariano’s supermarkets, won’t see a full selection of goods like they’d find in newly built Mariano’s stores for at least another two years because it takes that long to redo store interiors, said Don Rosanova, Roundy’s executive vice president of operations. The Dominick’s stores they inherit will be vacant, Roundy’s officials said.

“If we take over a store with a meat department that’s half the size of a regular Mariano’s, shoppers at that store won’t see the full variety, but we will sell a representative offering at the same quality and the same pricing structure (as the full-sized meat department),” Rosanova said. “Eventually, after a full remodel, the store will have the same variety.”

Dominick’s stores being transformed into Mariano’s will be closed initially for at least 30 to 45 days after Mariano’s takes over; five of the stores will open in January and five in March. The Dominick’s in Westchester will be closed until late 2014 for a more extensive remodeling.

No one at Safeway or Dominick’s would comment.

Experts say shoppers will endure some inconvenience in the short run, such as bare shelves, but they may benefit from heightened competition in the long run.

Jewel-Osco intends to close the four Dominick’s stores it has bought for four days in mid-January — no dates yet — to change everything from the stores’ marquees to products, sales tags and employee uniforms, Jewel-Osco spokeswoman Allison Sperling said. “Shelves won’t clear or start over fresh” while the Dominick’s stores remain open, Sperling said in an email.

Jewel-Osco’s goal is to plan ordering so that the stores remain “ready for business,” she said. The Dominick’s employees, whom Jewel-Osco has agreed to keep at the four stores will help “reset” the stores, Sperling said.

Jewel-Osco is still working out a way to keep Dominick’s pharmacies open at the acquired stores throughout the transition, Sperling said.

The four Dominick’s that Jewel’s parent company, New Albertson’s Inc., has acquired are at 1340 S. Canal and 2550 N. Clybourn in Chicago, and stores in Glenview and Homer Glen.

Shoppers at the Dominick’s on Clybourn told the Sun-Times that they prefer Dominick’s over Jewel and are disappointed by the switchover.

Yana Kiesau, 35, of Roscoe Village prefers Dominick’s at 2550 N. Clybourn because she likes the selection and lower price of organic baby food compared with rival grocers, and she has had a difficult time finding ground chicken elsewhere.

A spokesman for Whole Foods, which has never closed a store but has relocated stores, said his company works with local food banks for weeks in advance to allow for pickup of perishables and other leftovers after a store’s closing.

“Whole Foods would continue to restock up until the day the store is ready to move,” spokesman Keith Stewart said. “A lot of stuff is donated, and any money lost would support the community where we would be doing business anyway.”

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