Magruder’s Supermarkets, the Rockville-based chain that first opened its doors in 1875, announced Wednesday that it had sold its store on Connecticut Avenue and is in negotiations to sell its four other remaining stores to another buyer.

The four stores, in Alexandria, Gaithersburg, Rockville and Vienna, will begin offering all remaining products 50 percent off beginning Wednesday.

Customers have been complaining about empty shelves at the stores since last week.

The Connecticut Avenue store, in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of D.C., will remain open under the Magruder’s name, according to a statement the company issued.

“We are currently in negotiations to sell the remaining four locations to a group who wishes to purchase the individual stores and to reopen them as quickly as possible and we are working diligently with all parties involved,” said Gary Bortnick, the chain’s vice president, in a written statement.

Magruder’s was purchased by a small group of local families in 1967, and they previously closed stores in Cleveland Park, Annandale and Falls Church.

In the meantime, a wave of other grocery stores have opened new locations in the area, including Wegmans, Harris Teeter, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Fresh Market as Washington gained tens of thousands of new residents and after the recession.

Bortnick, who said as late as last week that he did not expect any of the stores to close, said selling the stores was a difficult decision. He did not name the buyers or say how many employees were likely to lose their jobs.

“We would like to thank everyone including our incredible management staff, our hard working United Food and Commercial Unionized employees, our outstanding vendors and suppliers and of course the most unbelievably dedicated and loyal customers that have allowed us to remain in business these past 46 years,” Bortnick said.

“Although this is a difficult decision it has been a pleasure and privilege to have been an important part of Washington history dating from the days of President Ulysses S. Grant to President Obama and 26 Presidents in between. However, now is the right time for our family to move on.”

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