Supervalu Inc. sold its Bristol Farms specialty grocery unit to a group of investors as the fifth-largest U.S. food retailer focuses on its core brands.

Buyers include Bristol Farms’ management and Endeavour Capital, a Portland, Ore.-based investment firm with experience in food retailing, Supervalu said in a statement today. Terms of the sale, which took effect today, were not disclosed. Bristol Farms has 14 stores in the Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco areas.

Supervalu “continuously evaluates its operations to identify opportunities to strengthen its overall business and, when necessary, makes decisions that involve the sale of some locations,” Brian Huff, Supervalu’s senior vice president, specialty retail, said in a statement.

The sale will “ultimately allow Supervalu to operate more efficiently and effectively and focus on improving the shopping experience throughout its entire network of owned and supplied stores,” Huff said.

Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu has fared worse than other major grocery chains amid recession-driven food deflation and a weak economy that’s prompted consumers to seek bargains at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., or at warehouse clubs such as Costco Wholesale Corp. Supervalu has also been rumored to be a takeover target.

In October, Supervalu reported a $1.47 billion quarterly loss and cut its sales and profit forecasts for the second time in three months. Identical-store sales in the 12-month period that began in March are expected to fall 5.5%, excluding fuel, from the previous year, Supervalu said.

Supervalu is the fifth-largest U.S. food retailer with about 4% of the U.S. market, according to Citigroup Global Markets analyst Deborah Weinswig. Wal-Mart is the largest. Supervalu operates more than 2,300 U.S. stores under about a dozen branded retail chains, including Albertsons, Cub Foods, Jewel-Osco and Save-A-Lot.

Supervalu sells Bristol Farms