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OAKLAND, CA-Albertson’s Inc. will shutter two East Bay stores–one in Oakland and another in Pinole–shortly after the New Year. The publicly held grocer from Boise, ID, says the “old-format stores” are “underperforming” and located near other Albertson’s stores that were recently remodeled.

A company official could not be reached Thursday for comment, but it appears “old format” is the term used for stores that do not have pharmacies. Both of the stores that are closing lack pharmacies and the nearby recently remodeled stores the company refers to all have pharmacies.

The Oakland store being shuttered is at 3250 Lakeshore Ave. and the Pinole store is located at 2750 Pinole Valley Road. The stores will close on Jan. 4.

The news comes one month after it sold its distribution facility in San Leandro and three months after it began “exploring strategic alternatives,” including a potential sale or joint venture. The company retained Goldman Sachs & Co. and The Blackstone Group LP as its financial advisors in this process. Recent news reports have speculated that Kroger may be the high bidder for the chain.

In October, Alberston’s announced $81 million in third quarter profits on revenue of $9.9 billion. In the same quarter of 2004, the company reported $117 million in profits on similar revenue.

Over the past three months, the publicly held grocer from Boise, ID has opened seven new stores, closed 18 and completed 41 remodels. The company currently operates about 2,475 stores.

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