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The Boston Herald reports that Supervalu-owned Shaw’s Supermarkets plans to close five stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, no later than mid-February, a move that will leave the company with 169 Shaw’s and Star Markets.

While the company is not saying how many people will be laid off as a result of the moves, the paper estimates that it will be about 500.

“The decision comes from our striving to ensure the success of all our stores,” said spokesman Steve Sylven. “Given the competitive markets that we’re operating in right now and really the difficult environment, unfortunately it becomes necessary to close those stores that aren’t profitable.”
KC's View:
The rumor mill will say that perhaps this is Supervalu getting Shaw’s ready for sale by cleaning away dead wood ... in the same manner of BJ’s Wholesale Club.

That speculation certainly would seem to have the ring of truth about it. The question is what the over-under is on when Supervalu announces it has sold the company, either whole or piecemeal.