In what could be a signal of further deals ahead, Southeastern Grocers has reached an agreement to sell eight Winn-Dixie stores located in southern Louisiana to Brookshire Grocery Co. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Brookshire Grocery Co.'s stores in New Roads, Breaux Bridge, Franklin, New Iberia, Abbeville, Crowley, Rayne and Eunice, La., will become part of the Tyler, Texas-based Super 1 banner division.
“We’re excited about this agreement and the opportunity it provides us to further grow and expand in this region. These stores are a strong fit for our Super 1 Foods banner, and we look forward to welcoming new customers and employees in Acadiana,” said Brad Brookshire, chairman and CEO of BGC, in a statement. “We’re a family business celebrating our 90th anniversary this year, and we look forward to many more years here.”
For Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern, the deal comes amid speculation the company may close or sell stores as part of a financial reorganization. Winn-Dixie closed three Louisiana stores a year ago. Observers have long speculated that company’s stores in that state and in Mississippi could be attractive to local buyers.
"We made the decision to transfer stores only after careful consideration," Joe Caldwell, a spokesman for Southeastern, told WGB. "We were approached by Brookshire Grocery Co. and we reached an agreement to transition the eight stores to them, as these stores work well in their current footprint. They also recognize the value these stores provide to the communities they serve. We are confident that the eight stores being transferred, with the support of their new owners, will see continued success."
Caldwell did not comment on the possibility of additional divestitures. "We are always open to considering opportunities that can increase our ability to provide customers with an improved shopping experience," he said.
“We are pleased to have found a strong partner in Brookshire Grocery Co., who shares our focus on customers and who respects and values their employees," said Trey Edwards, Winn-Dixie regional VP for Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. “We know BGC very well and are confident that the eight stores being transferred will see continued success in their communities. Importantly, Winn-Dixie and Super 1 Foods are working together to ensure a smooth transition for associates, and we are thrilled that our associates in these stores will have the opportunity to interview at their current store locations for ongoing positions."
Edwards further expressed thanks to "loyal customers who have shopped at these locations and our team of hard-working associates for their commitment to serving our customers."
After the closing process is completed, it is anticipated that the stores will undergo a brief transition period with the goal of reopening within a matter of days under the Super 1 Foods banner. BGC worked with The Food Partners, a grocery investment banking firm, as a strategic and financial advisor for the acquisition.
With 37 stores in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, Super 1 Foods is known for everyday low prices, fresh meats and produce, and service, according to BGC, whose first Super 1 Foods store opened in Alexandria, La., in 1984. The newest location opened in November in Youngsville, La.
This story was updated with additional comment from Southeastern Grocers.