Long Beach will lose two major grocery stores within one mile of each other before the year is out, but will get in their place one upscale store and one downscale store.

A Ralphs grocery at 3210 E. Anaheim St. will close at the end of the week and an Albertsons grocery at 644 Redondo Ave. is expected to close by Dec. 1.

Ralphs, a Compton chain owned by Kroger Co. of Cincinnati, will eventually reopen as a Food 4 Less, one of the company’s lower-cost chains. Albertsons, owned by Supervalu Inc. in Boise, Idaho, will become a higher-end Gelson’s Market, owned by Arden Group Inc. in Compton.

The Long Beach Albertsons is one of 60 underperforming stores Supervalu announced it expects to close by the end of the fiscal year.

Wayne Sales, chief executive of Supervalu, said in a statement last week that the Albertsons closures are necessary to cut company costs and improve shareholder value.

“These decisions are never easy because of the impact a store closure has on our team members, our customers and our communities,” he said.

Gelson’s doesn’t expect to take over the Albertsons location until March, when it will begin extensive renovations before opening late next year.

The transition between Ralphs and Food 4 Less could take less time because the two chains share a parent company.

Baby Steps

Global Disney Store, the international retail arm of Burbank entertainment giant Walt Disney Co., welcomed a new member to the family when it opened a Disney Baby Store earlier this month.

The 1,200-square-foot store, which will sell Disney-themed baby items such as clothing, stuffed toys, car seats and bottles, opened at the Americana at Brand in Glendale.

The store will be the only stand-alone Disney Baby; all 215 Disney Stores in the United States and Canada will add a Disney Baby section by the end of the month.

Paul Gainer, executive vice president of Global Disney Store, said moms are the store’s target demographic.

“We really kind of saw an opportunity in the market where there was a void of quality products, and just a void of being able to speak to moms,” he said.

The company began rolling out small selections of baby products in its North American stores a year ago and has now expanded the line.

Gainer said the company is introducing the baby store now to take advantage of upcoming holidays, including Halloween, when moms can buy their babies character costumes from the store.


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