UPDATED: Bi-Lo agrees to buy three Delhaize banners

05/29/2013 10:07:00 AM
Pamela Riemenschneider

(UPDATED COVERAGE, May 30) The Brussels, Belgium Delhaize Group reached an agreement with Bi-Lo Holdings LLC on the sale of three of its banners.

The $256 million deal includes 72 Sweetbay locations, 72 Harveys locations and 11 Reid’s locations, according to a news release.

Bi-Lo also acquires the leases for 10 Sweetbay locations closed in February, but Delhaize retains Sweetbay’s distribution center.

The future of the stores in the acquisition is pending the closing of the transaction and legally required waiting period, said Brian Wright, senior director of communications for Winn-Dixie, in an e-mail.

“In addition, we have only just announced this agreement, and there are many details to work through,” he said in the e-mail. “We will provide updates, including decisions related to each of the banners, as we move closer to completing this transaction.”

Delhaize Group chief executive officer Pierre-Oliver Beckers said in a news release the transaction “represents a significant move toward simplifying our business and will allow for even greater focus at Delhaize America.”

Delhaize Group expects the transaction to close in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The deal follows six months of changes at Delhaize America banners. In December, Cathy Burns Green, chief executive officer of Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion was removed as president. Jim Corby, vice president of produce merchandising for Delhaize America and Kyle Pierce, vice president of produce merchandising for Food Lion were two of 15 Delhaize and Food Lion vice presidents let go in a management purge in January, and in February, Delhaize closed a third of Tampa, Fla.-based Sweetbay’s locations.

In mid-May, Food Lion announced improvements to its operations, including better quality and wider selections of produce in a new Fresh from the Field initiative. The company also announced plans to add 800 jobs to its 178 stores.



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