Food Lion is planning to acquire 46 Bi-Lo and 16 Harveys Supermarket stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia from Southeastern Grocers (SEG). This is part of SEG's larger plan to no longer operate stores under the Bi-Lo banner, but instead invest in its Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie banners. SEG continues to look for strategic options for the remaining Bi-Lo stores.
The transaction with Food Lion for 62 stores will be complete over a staggered period from January to April 2021.
The asset deal with SEG also includes the acquisition of an additional distribution center. Food Lion's network of stores, including the new locations, will be served by ADUSA Distribution LLC, through the Mauldin, S.C., distribution center. This handover is also anticipated in the first half of 2021.
“We are so excited to add these new locations to our more than 630 stores across Georgia and the Carolinas,” said Food Lion President Meg Ham. “We’ve been serving customers in these larger regions for almost 60 years. We’re thrilled to add these locations and serve even more towns and cities across these three states with fresh, quality products at affordable prices every day, with the caring, friendly service customers expect from their local Food Lion.”
In a more immediate move, SEG is divesting the assets of 57 of the in-store pharmacies it operates under the Bi-Lo and Harveys Supermarket banners to CVS and Walgreens. These locations will begin to transition within the next two weeks.
"The successful execution of our long-term transformation strategy may at times require difficult decisions," said Anthony Hucker, president and CEO of SEG. "Today’s transactions are a critical strategic move and an important next step for our continued growth and broader evolution as a business. These actions will facilitate greater investment in our remaining footprint so we can continue to provide an exceptional shopping experience our customers can always count on.”
These announcements come just a week after SEG revealed the opening of eight new Winn-Dixie stores in former Lucky's Market and Earth Fare stores in Florida.
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and PJ Solomon are serving as financial advisors to SEG on the transactions, while Weil Gotshal, Wilson Sonsini and Burr Forman are serving as legal advisors. PJ Solomon is managing the company’s sale process for the remaining Bi-Lo stores.
Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion has more than 1,000 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, and employs more than 77,000 associates. Parent company Ahold Delhaize USA is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food retailers in in North America.
SEG operates 550 grocery stores, liquor stores and in-store pharmacies throughout the seven southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company is No. 34 on The PG 100, while Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens Boots Alliance is No. 4 and Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health is No. 6.