United Natural Foods Inc., which upon acquiring Supervalu earlier this year made a point of its intentions to dispose of its retail assets, has found a buyer for Hornbacher’s, the Fargo, N.D.-based regional chain.
The Providence, R.I.-based distributor said St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn’s Inc. would buy seven of Hornbacher’s eight stores, along with a store in development in West Fargo, N.D., for an undisclosed sum.
Coborn’s, a longtime distribution customer of Supervalu with 53 stores in the upper Midwest, is expected to retain the Hornbacher’s name on the acquired units and intends to enter into a long-term agreement with Supervalu to continue supplying them, preserving the distributor’s wholesale volume.
“The sale of Hornbacher’s to Coborn’s is an ideal outcome for our associates and the Fargo-Moorhead community,” said Sean Griffin, Supervalu’s CEO, in a statement. “As we previously discussed, our strategy is to focus on the wholesale business going forward, so finding a strategic buyer for Hornbacher’s with continued supply opportunity was a top priority. Coborn’s is a longstanding Supervalu wholesale customer, and we’re excited that they will carry on the Hornbacher’s name and tradition of quality products and service.”
The transaction is expected to close before Dec. 25, subject to customary closing conditions.
UNFI and Supervalu are continuing to look for buyers for Cub Foods, the Minneapolis-based chain; Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, its Maryland-based chain; and various Shop n' Save units. Nineteen of the latter stores around St. Louis were sold to Schnuck Markets last month.
Hornbacher’s first opened as Ted’s Supervalu in Moorhead, Minn., by Ted Hornbacher in 1951. Supervalu acquired the banner in 1975. Hornbacher’s is known for its reputation for quality and perishables as well as its support of many civic, educational, arts and nonprofit organizations in the Fargo-Moorhead community.
The Hornbacher’s store in Grand Forks, N.D., is not included in the sale to Coborn’s and will close, the company said. A liquidation sale will begin at the store Dec. 3, and it will close when the inventory liquidation is complete.
“We appreciate the tremendous service of our associates and their unwavering dedication to our customers through the years,” said Anne Dament, Supervalu’s EVP, of retail, marketing and private brands. “I know the store teams and staff will do an amazing job supporting Coborn’s and continuing to make Hornbacher’s a popular choice for the local community going forward.”