Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Empire selling out Portmore operation

Published:Friday | December 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Four years after entering Portmore, the owner of the Empire Supermarket chain, Lloyd Kerr, appears set to exit the investment and is preparing to sell the business as a going concern.

Kerr had acquired the operation at Portmore Pines from SuperPlus Food Stores in mid-2010.

Empire opened its 27,000-square-foot store in the Pines plaza complex a few months before Hi-Lo Food Stores started its own supermarket operation in the plaza next door.

Another rival supermarket, Progressive, is soon to open up nearby.

Reached for comment on the sale of the Portmore operation, Kerr told the Financial Gleaner that he would discuss the business with interested investors only.

A representative, whose contact number was cited in a newspaper advertisement on the sale, said only Kerr could comment.

The advertisement indicates that a supermarket had operated at the site for 25 years - a period that would have included the years in which SuperPlus did business there.

The Pines store was the second deal with SuperPlus for Kerr, following the acquisition a year before of the assets and equipment of the SuperPlus branch in Liguanea, Kingston, in 2009. The acquisition costs for Liguanea and Portmore were never disclosed.

The flagship store for Empire was opened at Retirement Road in Cross Roads, Kingston, in 1982

The Progressive store developed by Gladstone Loshusan in Portmore is to open for business by the first quarter of 2015, according to Progressive Grocers of Jamaica Limited, a consortium of grocers that includes the Loshusans and other individual supermarket owners, who together control some 30 grocery outlets nationwide.

Gladstone Loshusan was said to be travelling and unavailable for comment.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com