An Ark Family Center Car Wash fundraising event at the Albertsons parking lot in 2009.

An Ark Family Center Car Wash fundraising event at the Albertsons parking lot in 2009. (Times Community News / September 6, 2012)

The parent company of the Albertsons supermarket chain is closing 26 stores nationwide, including its lone branch in South Glendale, as it tries to overcome sharp operating losses and stiff price competition from big-box rivals.

Supervalu Inc. said late Wednesday that the closings are part of a decision to eliminate about 60 stores nationwide, primarily in its Albertsons and Save-A-Lot chains. Albertsons will have 228 stores across the state after the closures.

Among the 18 Albertsons locations in Southern California scheduled to be closed by December — in addition to the one in Glendale — are stores in Long Beach, Northridge and Van Nuys. A store in Culver City closed last month.

The stores being eliminated are “underperforming or non-strategic,” Supervalu said in a statement. The company did not disclose the location of the remaining eight Albertsons stores.

The closures underscore the difficulties facing Albertsons and other traditional grocery chains, which are grappling with feverish competition from dollar stores, large discounters and big-box retailers.

In Glendale, the lone Albertsons at 1000 South Central Ave. has had to contend with a number of big-box competitors within a short driving distance, namely Target, which has a multi-level store less than a mile away at the Glendale Galleria complex. A large Target is also roughly five miles away in Eagle Rock — both locations sell groceries.

A Costco is also just a short drive away in Atwater. And adding to the big-box retailer pressure is a planned Walmart in Burbank.

Li and Hamilton are Los Angeles Times staff writers. Jason Wells contributed to this report.