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Winn-Dixie Reaches Agreement to Sell 102 Stores

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., based here, deemed yesterday's auction a success, as the retailer reached an agreement to sell 102 stores to 30 purchasers.

These stores are part of the 326 locations that Winn-Dixie previously announced it intends to sell or close in conjunction with its new "store footprint" strategy. The retailer is focusing on its strongest markets and reducing the size of its store base from 913 stores in the United States and the Bahamas to 587 stores.

"We are pleased with the results of the auction, which increased substantially the value achieved for the company and also increased the number of locations that will continue to operate as food and beverage stores. In many cases, the buyers of these stores have agreed to offer employment opportunities for our associates," said Peter Lynch, president and c.e.o. of Winn-Dixie, in a statement. He added that the company intends to provide severance and other assistance to the associates of closing stores who will not be offered opportunities with new owners.

Earlier this month Winn-Dixie announced that it had reached a preliminary agreement to sell a total of 79 stores to 20 potential buyers, all of which intend to operate those stores on an ongoing basis.

The aggregate purchase price in the agreements for leases and equipment at the 102 stores is approximately $45.6 million, an increase of $6.9 million from the $38.7 million announced previously. This amount does not include inventory to be purchased. Winn-Dixie will seek final bankruptcy court approval of these sale agreements at a hearing scheduled for July 27 to July 29.

Winn-Dixie said it is seeking court authorization to conduct store-closing sales at the locations that will not be sold as food and beverage stores. Subject to court approval, these sales would begin on or about Aug. 1 and be completed in early to mid-September. An auction for the sale of the leases at these locations has been scheduled for Aug. 9, with expressions of interest from potential bidders due by Aug. 2.
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