It's official: Leedmark is closing Some 297 workers being laid off immediately

November 01, 1993|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

It's official. A French company's 2-year-old attempt to bring a European-style "hypermarket" to the Baltimore area ended today as Leedmark announced it would close its giant Glen Burnie store.

The company said most of its 297 workers would be laid off immediately.

No more food or merchandise will be delivered to the store after today.

A skeleton crew will operate the store through Jan. 15. After that, the remaining merchandise will be liquidated, a company statement said.

The company estimated it had 85,000 kinds of items on its shelves.

Leedmark, owned by the French retailing giant Leclerc Group, said declines in nonfood sales had caused the store to suffer "very significant losses."

"Leedmark does not have enough income to meet its expenses," said company spokesman Edward Segal in a printed announcement.

And the continuing weak economy meant there was no hope on the horizon, he said.

"There is no knight in shining armor in sight to rescue the store, and we cannot delay the inevitable," Mr. Segal said.

Today's announcement caps several days of indications that the store was in trouble.

Last week, it was reported that food suppliers had insisted on cash payments, and a graphic arts company's bills had gone unpaid.

Today's announcement represents the end of a bold attempt to create the ultimate in one-stop-shopping.

When Leclerc opened its Glen Burnie store in May of 1991, company officials said they hoped it would be the first in a 20-store chain on the East Coast.

But competition from a nearby Wal-Mart and other discount retailers appeared to have cut into Leedmark sales.

Officials at Local 27 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which represents the workers at the store, could not be reached for comment this morning.

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