Fred Meyer will close its store on Francis Avenue in Spokane early next year after failing to renegotiate its lease.
The Portland-based store told its 167 employees Wednesday morning of the decision to close on Jan. 31 after the holiday shopping season.
The workers will be absorbed into jobs at the region’s four other stores, including those on Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley; along Thor Street in the East Central neighborhood; in Wandermere; and in Coeur d’Alene, said spokeswoman Melinda Merrill.
“This is a really tough thing to do,” she said.
The Fred Meyer at 525 E. Francis Ave. is on the margins of profitability and the failure to reach a satisfactory new lease would jeopardize the store’s ability to be profitable.
“This store, right now, contributes to the company,” she said. “We’ve always had to work hard to keep it that way. The employees are amazing and have kept our customers.”
The store opened at the Francis location in 1975. It’s among the few locations that are leased.
The chain’s other major store buildings in the region are company-owned.
Fred Meyer is searching for a suitable location in the area for a new store but has yet to find either an existing space to lease or land on which to build.