String said A&P told the union the company was "losing a lot of money and looking for possible savings and to renegotiate the contract."
Labor officials renegotiated contracts with A&P when the supermarket corporation was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. "My response was if, they were going to take the savings and put them into the stores and renovate the stores, we could sit down and have a discussion," String said. "That ended the conversation with the company."
A&P vice president Derrick Kinney confirmed the planned closures, but declined to comment further.
Some of the 56 seafood, bakery, meat cutters, and deli workers will be able to transfer to other Pathmark stores if they have adequate seniority based on "bumping rights" in their contract, String said.
The closings are just the latest, said Sam Ferraino, president of UFCW Local 1360. In January, A&P closed Super Fresh markets in Westmont, Marlton, and Plainsboro, N.J.
It was no surprise to one industry market-research analyst that the Pathmarks were on the chopping block.
"These were not high-volume, extremely high-performing stores in recent years," said Robert Gorland, vice president of Harrisburg-based Matthew P. Casey & Associates. His company performs feasibility studies on sites being considered for new supermarkets.
"Sometimes, it can be that a lease option was coming up. In other cases, the store may be underperforming."
Matthew Casey, owner of the consulting firm, said all three stores were unprofitable. Pathmark's lease in Camden expires next year, Casey said.
With the recent announcement that Camden will be getting a 75,000-square-foot Shop Rite on Admiral Wilson Boulevard, "I guess they [A&P] are getting out while they can," he said.
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