NEW YORK — Ahold Delhaize USA has made two recent moves on the expansion front. Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion has agreed to buy 62 BI-LO/Harveys Supermarket stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia from Southeastern Grocers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The acquisition follows Food Lion’s purchase of four BI-LO stores in the greater Myrtle Beach, Florence and Columbia, S.C., markets in 2018.
“We are so excited to add these new locations to our more than 630 stores across Georgia and the Carolinas,” said Food Lion president Meg Ham. “We’ve been serving customers in these larger regions for almost 60 years. We’re thrilled to add these locations and serve even more towns and cities across these three states with fresh, quality products at affordable prices every day with the caring, friendly service customers expect from their local Food Lion.”
The stores will remain open as BI-LO and Harveys Supermarket outlets until the transaction is complete, which is expected to take place over a staggered period from January to April 2021, pending regulatory approval and customary closing requirements. Food Lion then plans to convert all the stores to the Food Lion banner.
The converted Food Lion stores will be served by ADUSA Distribution LLC through its Mauldin, S.C., distribution center once the transaction is complete. That supply chain transition is expected to be complete in the first half of 2021.
Ironically, the original BI-LO chain, based in Greenville, S.C., was acquired by Royal Ahold N.V. in 1977 and subsequently expanded by the Dutch grocer’s acquisition of Red Food Stores Inc. in 1994 and Birmingham, Ala.-based Bruno’s Supermarkets in 2001. In 2005 Ahold sold BI-LO/Bruno’s to Lone Star Funds, a private equity firm.
For its part, Southeastern Grocers recently announced its own expansion plans in Florida. It intends to add eight new Winn-Dixie stores in the state before the end of the year, through the acquisition and conversion of four Lucky’s Market and four Earth Fare stores. The four Lucky’s Market stores are located in Fort Myers, Gainesville, Lake Mary and Melbourne. The four Earth Fare stores are located in Boynton Beach, Jacksonville, Lakewood Ranch and Viera.
Most recently, Ahold Delhaize revealed that its planned acquisition of King Kullen Grocery Co. has been called off. According to a company statement, the two parties could not agree on terms of the prospective deal.
The planned purchase was initially announced in January 2019, and would have involved 32 King Kullen supermarkets, five Wild by Nature stores and corporate offices in Bethpage, N.Y. The addition was viewed as a means to bolster the position of Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop division in the Long Island, N.Y., market. With about 400 stores in New York and four other Northeastern states, Stop & Shop is Ahold Delhaize’s largest U.S. division.
The King Kullen name holds a historic place in the supermarket industry. The flagship store was opened in Queens, N.Y., in 1930 by Michael Cullen, who had previously worked for A&P and Kroger Co. It is widely recognized as being the first modern supermarket.