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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, May 28, 201312:00 PM EST

Bi-Lo to buy Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid's

by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Bi-Lo Holdings LLC, which operates the Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo supermarket chains, announced an agreement Tuesday to buy 165 Southeastern grocery stores under three brand names from the Delhaize Group.

Bi-Lo will pay $265 million to buy the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s supermarket chains from Delhaize, the Belgium-based company best known in the U.S. for its operation of the Food Lion chain.

Delhaize closed all of its Florida Food Lion stores last year, including 20 in the Jacksonville market. It still operates 1,188 Food Lion supermarkets.

Bi-Lo, which merged with Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie last year, currently operates 686 stores in eight Southeastern states under the Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo banners. The company did not say in its news release Tuesday if it will change the names of the three chains it is acquiring.

“We are pleased to announce this transaction, which will build on the strength of our BI-Lo and Winn-Dixie stores and allow us to extend our great products at great value to a broader customer base,” Bi-Lo President and CEO Randall Onstead said in the release.

“Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s are well-recognized and trusted businesses that share our passion for exceptional service. We look forward to welcoming the outstanding associates of all three chains to the BI-Lo Winn-Dixie family,” he said.

Bi-Lo said the 165 stores employ about 10,000 people. Bi-Lo currently has about 60,000 employees.

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