Boise, Idaho-based Albertson's, one of the world's largest food and drug retailers, has announced plans to sell eight Missouri store locations and close a ninth, effectively completing the company's plan to exit the Springfield, Joplin, Nixa, Republic and Waynesville markets as a food retailer.

The company explained that after a thorough review, it determined these nine stores did not build shareholder value, and could not attain significant market share.

Human Resources teams announced the news yesterday [Tuesday] morning during store associate meetings.

Albertson's and Roswil, Inc. Ramey/Price Cutter today announced an agreement in principle to transfer ownership of eight stores in Springfield, Joplin, Nixa, and Waynesville, Missouri. The sale is expected to be complete by 22 April 2002. The company also announced plans to close its store in Republic, Missouri at 10:00pm, Sunday, 31 March 2002.

Larry Johnston, Albertson's chairman and CEO commented: "Albertson's is committed to markets where the Company holds - or has the potential to gain - significant market share.

"While these decisions are never easy, we had an opportunity to sell these stores to a strong buyer with an excellent reputation. We are confident Ramey/Price Cutter will create a smooth transition that will benefit the affected communities."

Great Plains division VP David Jerry added: "After several months of careful analysis and consideration we made the right decision. Ramey/Price Cutter will provide our Albertson's associates with continued employment opportunities. The resources generated from the sale of these stores will be reinvested in other strategic growth areas of our business."

Albertson's currently employs about 725 people in Springfield, Joplin, Nixa, Waynesville, and Republic. To aid in a smooth transition, many of those employees, including those at the affected Republic store, are likely to be hired by Ramey/Price Cutter.