Harveys, Sweetbay and Reid’s stores sold to Bi-Lo

Steve’s breakdown: In addition to this purchase, Bi-Lo merged with Winn-Dixie last year so there’s lots of opportunity.

Try Rondel Cuyler, their Director, Advertising and Branding as a contact.

JACKSONVILLE, FL: Belgian grocer Delhaize, which owns Food Lion, plans to sell 155 stores operating under the Harveys, Sweetbay and Reid’s banners to rival supermarket company Bi-Lo.

It’s the latest major change for a company that’s seen top executives shuffled, hundreds of job cuts and store closures over the past few years, as Delhaize attempts to revitalize its business.

Delhaize America employs some 2,500 people in Salisbury, where Food Lion is headquartered. Harveys and Reid’s are both based in Salisbury as well. A spokeswoman couldn’t immediately be reached to comment on jobs impacted by the Bi-Lo sale.

Bi-Lo is buying the grocery stores for $265 million in cash, Food Lion executives said in a news release.

“We believe this transaction represents a significant move towards simplifying our business and will allow for even greater focus at Delhaize America,” said Delhaize CEO Pierre-Oliver Beckers. “The transaction will further increase the financial flexibility required to execute our strategic priorities.”

The company said Bi-Lo has also agreed to buy the leases for 10 former Sweetbay locations. Together, the 165 locations – generated $1.8 billion worth of revenue in 2012, Food Lion said.

The sale is the latest major change for Delhaize, which has been shaking up its business in an attempt to revive growth. Beckers announced earlier this month he plans to step down as chief executive to make way for “a successor who will lead the group and its evolution into the future.”

Delhaize America said earlier this year that it was cutting 500 corporate jobs to lower expenses. Earlier this year, the company closed 33 Sweetbay stores in Florida and eight Food Lion locations, including one in Belmont.

In December, the company also replaced Food Lion president Cathy Green-Burns. And earlier last year, Delhaize closed 113 stores, including all Food Lion locations in Florida, and killed the Bloom banner, converting or closing those stores to other brands.

After the sale to Bi-Lo, Delhaize will operate only the Food Lion, Bottom Dollar, and Hannaford supermarkets in the U.S. Food Lion remains the company’s largest supermarket in the U.S., with about 1,130 locations. With $18.8 billion worth of sales last year, Delhaize’s U.S. stores accounted for 64 percent of the company’s total revenue.

Bi-Lo acquired the Winn-Dixie supermarket chain last year for $560 million. The company operates more than 680 supermarkets. Now based in Jacksonville, Bi-Lo has been trying to bulk up and rebuild following a bankruptcy and acquisition by private equity firm Lone Star Funds.

Winn-Dixie also underwent bankruptcy several years ago, closing all of its stores in the Carolinas as a result.

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