Consolidation fever continues to grip the grocery industry as New Hampshire-based C&S Wholesale Grocers announced Thursday that it is buying Wisconsin-based Piggly Wiggly Midwest.
As part of the acquisition, C&S will operate 11 Piggly Wiggly Midwest corporate stores and service 14 Butera Market stores in the Chicagoland region, as well as 84 Wisconsin franchisees under the Piggly Wiggly brand. Piggly Wiggly's current distribution centers and offices will continue to operate. The deal is anticipated to close by the end of July, subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.
"With more than 102 years in the rapidly changing grocery industry, the foundation of C&S's success has been our ability to adapt and innovate ahead of market trends to better serve our customers. It's this legacy that drives our unrelenting focus on innovative go-to-market strategies and customer service. We consistently review opportunities to grow and expand into new geographies, segments and services to ensure the company's long-term success," said Rick Cohen, Executive Chairman, C&S Wholesale Grocers.
The C&S-Piggly Wiggly deal comes a few months after Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets announced a merger, nearly doubling their collective footprint in the Northeast.
Piggly Wiggly Midwest operates corporate stores and services independent franchisees under a chain-style program. Since 1911, Sheboygan, Wis., has been the home to Piggly Wiggly Midwest's headquarters where it has its corporate offices and two of its distribution centers. A third distribution center is located in Milwaukee.
"Although it has been a very difficult decision, the sale of Piggly Wiggly Midwest to C&S is a natural next step for this historic brand. Piggly Wiggly is more than a supermarket, it is a family of franchise operators, employees and loyal Pig Point customers too. C&S has the experience and knowledge to ensure that this 100-year old icon continues for the next 100 years," said Paul Butera Sr., President, Piggly Wiggly Midwest and Founder, Butera Market.
As part of the transaction, C&S will remain the primary supplier for Butera Market stores.
"We look forward to working with C&S and expanding our partnership for another successful 50 years," said Joseph Butera, President, Butera Market.
According to the announcement, Paul Sr.'s sons — Joseph and Paul Jr., along with Paul Sr.'s grandson Nicholas (Paul Jr.'s son), will continue running Butera Market's operations.
The Food Partners served as financial advisers to Piggly Wiggly Midwest and Mayer Law Firm, SC served as legal counsel to Piggly Wiggly Midwest. Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC served as legal advisor to C&S.
"The purchase of Piggly Wiggly Midwest is a natural expansion of our already successful Piggly Wiggly Carolina business and reinforces our strong commitment to this beloved brand. It is a well-established legend in grocery retail that is valued by customers for its competitive pricing and focus on service," said Bob Palmer, Chief Executive Officer, C&S Wholesale Grocers.
C&S services customers of all sizes, supplying more than 7,700 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases and institutions with 137,000-plus products. The Keene, N.H.-based company is No. 16 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top retailers of food and consumables in North America. Piggly Wiggly Midwest, which is No. 83 on The PG 100, supplies 95 Piggly Wiggly supermarkets in the greater Wisconsin and northern Illinois areas, as well as 14 Butera Market stores in the Chicagoland area.