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Publix Super Markets to close five stores near former Albertsons stores

An Albertsons sign is covered in Pinellas Park at a store to become a Publix, while the Publix in the background will close.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

An Albertsons sign is covered in Pinellas Park at a store to become a Publix, while the Publix in the background will close.

When Publix Super Markets Inc. bought 17 local Albertsons stores a year ago this month, the Lakeland grocer announced it would reopen each one as a Publix while closing as few of its existing stores as possible.

Even if they were only a block apart.

In the first year, they did. However, once the job is finished in the upcoming months, not so much.

Publix has reopened 10 Albertsons stores so far and will have remodeled the other seven by early 2010. But going forward, five existing Publix stores serving the same neighborhoods will close for good.

The locations going bye-bye are in Colony Shopping Center on W Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa, Seminole Mall in Seminole, Boot Ranch Center in Palm Harbor, Pasadena Shopping Center in South Pasadena and Park Plaza in Pinellas Park.

That comes when replacements in remodeled Albertsons stores open as follows: 8701 W Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa, Nov. 11; 7880 113th St., Seminole, Dec. 2; Shoppes at Boot Ranch in Palm Harbor, Dec. 2; 1075 S Pasadena Ave. in South Pasadena, Sept. 2; and 4701 Park Blvd. in Pinellas Park, January 2010.

"We'll close them because the stores had grown too old and tired," said Shannon Patton, Publix spokeswoman.

Because Publix did not slow the pace of new store construction and closing old locations, the Albertsons acquisition injected a double dose of annual Publix growth in the bay area in 18 months. By the time the dust settles this winter, the grocer will have netted 24 new locations.

The company promises a few more new stores by the end of 2010, depending on development schedules.

Publix parlayed the Albertsons buy into more market share.

Publix's share grew to 43 percent in July, up from 38 percent in 2007. In the same period, second-place Wal-Mart grew to 24 percent, up from 21 percent, and Sweetbay slipped to 12 percent, down from 14 percent, according to Trade Dimensions data published by Shelby Report of the Southeast. Winn-Dixie held firm at 8 percent.

Still yearn for Albertsons? Three stores remain in business: at 2170 Gulf-to-Bay in Clearwater; Largo Mall; and 8411 N Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.

• • •

After Apple sold 5.2 million iPhones this spring, marketers are scrambling to create applications that make it easier to buy from them over the Internet-linked smart phone.

Add HSN to a list of applications that range from ordering from Pizza Hut to downloading recipes from Kraft, Whole Foods and Weber Grills.

The St. Petersburg retailer plans to be the first TV shopping channel offering live streaming video in an iPhone application.

"We want to be wherever our core customers prefer," said Mindy Grossman, HSN chief executive. "And where we might find new ones."

• • •

Poco Pattino (Italian for "little shoes"), a South Tampa boutique that stocks hard-to-find brands for kids and teens, last week opened a second shop in International Plaza.

The selection ranges from $29 saltwater-resistant leather sandals to $50 Tsukihoshi sneakers outfitted with a green tea liner and $79 Naturino flip flops.

The owner is Leigh Peters, a sixth generation Tampa resident who left a wholesale sales job in the New York garment industry to come home, raise a family and dream about a high-end chain.

"Sometimes I really miss the city," she said. "But I left the day before 9/11, so I was glad to get out when we did."

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8252.

Publix Super Markets to close five stores near former Albertsons stores 08/10/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 10, 2009 11:01pm]

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