Southeastern Grocers said it has reached agreements to sell a total of 23 stores in two separate deals as it continues a wind-down of its South Carolina-based Bi-Lo banner.
The latest transaction sees 20 Bi-Lo stores divested to Alex Lee, parent company of Lowes Foods, and two Bi-Lo and one Harveys Supermarket sold to B&T Foods. The stores will begin transition to their new banners later this month with the process expected to be completed by the end of November, Southeastern said. The 23 stores employ more 1,700 employees.
Of the 20 stores sold to Alex Lee, 15 will transition to KJ's Market IGA banner and five will be rebannered as Lowes Foods. The new Lowes stores will be remodeled by next summer, but in the meantime, shoppers will begin to see the products from several Lowes Foods Originals including packaged Smokehouse ribs and BBQ, SausageWorks sausages as well as Chicken Kitchen products, including fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, chicken wings and in-store made chicken salad and chicken pot pies. The expanded wine department will feature Sunmill Direct, an assortment of wine sourced directly from vineyards around the globe. The bakery areas will also carry Lowes Foods’ popular L’Oven fresh cookies.
Lowes Foods will upgrade the store delis to feature Boar’s Head meats and cheeses and will update the beef selection to include Certified Angus Beef. In addition, the stores will have an expanded produce section with more organic and specialty products and a larger floral department featuring orchids, bouquets and balloons.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern, the parent company of Bi-Lo, Fresco y Mas, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie stores, announced earlier this year intentions to sell off all its Bi-Lo and Harveys stores, including 62 locations in a previously-announced sale to Food Lion, in order to focus on its remaining core banners.
Purchase terms were not disclosed.
“We are confident that the acquirers will continue serving these communities with the same commitment to service, quality and value our customers have counted on so for long,” said Joe Caldwell, director of corporate communications and government affairs fort Southeastern, in a statement. “Equally important, this marks continued momentum within our strategic shift to support our core banners.”
Southeastern said it would continue to assess its options for the remaining 40 Bi-Lo locations, including additional sales. All of the Harveys locations have been sold. PJ Solomon is serving as financial adviser to Southeastern on the transactions, and Weil Gotshal and Burr Forman are serving as legal advisers.