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Fleming: Plenty of Interest in Rainbow

MINNEAPOLIS -- Fleming Companies c.e.o.Mark Hansen told analysts yesterday that there are a number of suitors interested in purchasing its Rainbow Foods chain, which operates 44 supermarkets in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Dallas-based distributor has set a deadline of the end of October to receive bids, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Fleming acquired Rainbow Foods in 1994 and opened several new stores under the banner. But expansion was curtailed in the past couple of years and Rainbow struggled to hold its estimated 25- to 30- market share.

Albertsons was a Rainbow suitor two years ago, but company officials have declined to comment to the Star-Tribuine on whether the company is interested in Rainbow this time around.

Local speculation in Minnesota has centered on Edina-based Lund Food Holdings Inc., the parent company of both Lunds and Byerly's grocery stores. It is thought that the grocer might have interest in cherry-picking some of the Rainbow sites. But Michelle Croteau, spokeswoman for Lund Food Holdings, said "we're not involved in any negotiations at this time."
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