D’Ag denies sale rumors

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BY MICHELE HERMAN | I went into D’Agostino on Bethune St. this week to see how the shelves are looking. They were the emptiest I’ve seen them so far, with whole aisles bare. In June, online sources reported that D’Ag was planning to sell its remaining Manhattan stores, possibly to Key Foods, which owns Food Emporium. So I decided to call Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office and urge him to do what he can to ensure that the space remains a supermarket of one sort or another. I got Patrice Comerford, a staff member, on the phone. She got right in touch with D’Agostino’s management. Here is their surprising reply:

“While we are currently facing some considerable challenges driven by a significant downturn in the market (according to IRI data, supermarket spending in Manhattan has declined 3.6 percent in the past year) and some other challenges that do pose a threat to our business, we are vigorously doing everything necessary to ensure that our company remains a fixture in Manhattan’s supermarket landscape for generations to come. Our current store conditions, most notably many bare shelves, are being corrected as quickly as possible, and we anticipate significant improvement within the next few weeks.

“In addition to the obviously distressing condition of our store inventory, several unfounded rumours initiated by an irresponsible article in the Post have contributed to speculation that we are going out of business, seeking a buyer or selling some or all of our stores. These rumours are wholly false. We are not closing our company. We have not and do not plan to have any discussions with anyone regarding the sale of any or all of our stores.

“We recognize that the current conditions in our stores are disturbing to our customers, as they are to us. We assure you that we are taking very aggressive actions to correct this situation as quickly as possible.”

In addition, longtime Villager reader Pamela La Bonne called the paper on Monday to report: “I was in the D’Agostino today. Ron, the manager, was telling someone that they expect a huge shipment in August. So, I guess they’re not planning to close the place.”

With reporting by Lincoln Anderson