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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Oct. 9, 201312:00 PM EST

Dozens of Sweetbay markets becoming Winn-Dixie stores

by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Bi-Lo Holdings LLC said Tuesday that it plans to convert the 72 Sweetbay supermarkets it is acquiring from the Delhaize Group into Winn-Dixie stores.

Jacksonville-based Bi-Lo Holdings, which owns the Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo supermarket chains, agreed in May to buy the 72 Sweetbay stores in Florida, 72 Harveys supermarkets in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and 11 Reid’s stores in South Carolina from Delhaize.

The company also said it will convert the Reid’s stores to the Bi-Lo banner. The majority of the Harveys stores will retain that name, but some may be converted to Winn-Dixie or Bi-Lo after the acquisition is complete, which is expected in the first quarter of 2014.

Bi-Lo said in a news release that it intends to retain all store-level employees after the deal is completed. The 155 Delhaize stores have about 10,000 employees.

The company said the conversion of the stores to the Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo banners “is to reduce overlapping footprints. There is little overlap between Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie and Harveys stores.”

Harveys does have one store in the Jacksonville market in Green Cove Springs, according to its website.

Bi-Lo Holdings currently operates 685 stores in eight states. That includes 480 operating under the Winn-Dixie banner in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, while the rest operate as Bi-Lo in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

In addition to the Delhaize deal, Bi-Lo Holdings announced agreements last month to buy 22 Piggly Wiggly supermarkets in South Carolina and Georgia and to sell seven Bi-Lo stores in North and South Carolina to Publix Super Markets Inc.

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