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BOISE, Idaho --
Despite recent speculation that Albertson's Inc. would abandon the Sunshine State, the company's top official said he is committed to expanding throughout Florida by adding new supermarkets and fuel programs.
"We are here to stay," said Larry Johnston, Albertson's chief executive and chairman. "Florida is one of Albertson's key strategic markets for the future. In 2001 and 2002, Albertson's will invest in new stores and remodels in Florida. This is an attractive profitable market for us and one that we define as high growth."
This year, the company invested $100 million throughout the state in new store construction and remodels. An estimated investment of $125 million is planned for 2002. Albertson's operates more than 2,500 retail stores in 36 states, under banners including Albertson's, Jewel- Osco, Acme, Sav-on Drugs, and Super Saver, including approximately 300 in Florida.
"Our 13,000 Florida associates are energized by the support our company has shown by designating Florida as a strategic market," said Shane Sampson, Albertson's Florida division president. "With this type of investment, Albertson's will continue serving our customers everyday, working to become Florida's food and drug retailer of choice.
Although Albertson's confirmed that it will close three Miami-area store locations this week in connection with the company's strategy to close 165 underperforming stores, it plans to increase its capital expenditures in Florida to approximately $125 million in 2002 -- a 25 percent increase.
"There will always be stores or markets that do not build shareowner value," Johnston said. "Albertson's is intent on building shareowner value by eliminating underperforming assets. The three stores we are closing in Miami fit that profile; however, these closures have no bearing on our unwavering commitment to the future of Albertson's in Florida."