Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc., which operates 208 supermarkets, is talking to investors interested in buying the retailer.

Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter, whose stores are located mainly in the southeast and the mid-Atlantic, has hired J.P. Morgan as a financial advisor in the discussions, according to a company news release.

“The company was approached by two private equity firms who expressed an interest in purchasing the company,” according to the release. “In order to fulfill its duty to its shareholders to evaluate opportunities to increase shareholder value, the company retained J.P. Morgan to assist it in conducting discussions with certain highly qualified parties.”

While the talks are ongoing, Harris Teeter intends to continue its strategic new store growth plan and to retain employees in stores, at three North Carolina-based distribution and manufacturing facilities and corporate headquarters, according to the release.

Harris Teeter, which employs about 25,300 people, had revenues of $4.5 billion and assets of $2 billion for the fiscal year ending Oct. 2.