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Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Sweetbay chain solds to Jacksonville's Bi-Lo

TAMPA - TAMPA - The parent company of Sweetbay supermarkets has sold the grocery chain and two other brands to Jacksonville-based Bi-Lo Holdings for $265 million in cash, with the deal scheduled to close by year's end.

The deal includes the 72 still-operating Sweetbay stores, 72 Harveys stores and 11 Reid's stores in the United States. If consummated, the deal would also involve Bi-Lo acquiring the leases for 10 Sweetbay locations that closed down earlier this year, though the company didn't announce plans for those sites, or the 23 others that are not part of the deal.

"We would like to thank the associates of Sweetbay, Harveys, and Reid's for their ongoing commitment and accomplishments throughout the years," said Pierre-Olivier Beckers, chief executive officer of the Belgian-based parent company of Sweetbay, Delhaize Group.

Yet to be determined is whether Bi-Lo will keep the Sweetbay brand, or change those store locations to the Bi-Lo or some other brand. For fans of Sweetbay, it's worth knowing that when Bi-Lo bought the Winn-Dixie chain last year, those stores kept their identities.

The 10 closed-down Sweetbay store leases that Bi-Lo is adopting include:

4665 66th St. N., Kenneth City

2333 W. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa

11160 Spring Hill Drive, Springhill

955 62nd Ave. S., St Petersburg

4519 Gunn Highway, Tampa

7431 State Road 54, New Port Richey

1718 E. State Road 50, Clermont

3410 U.S. 301, Ellenton

10617 Sheldon Road, Tampa

2482 Immokalee Road, Naples

The Bi-Lo company overall dates back to 1962, when former Winn-Dixie executive Frank Outlaw bought a small chain of grocery stores.

This new deal with Sweetbay marks the second major move into the Southeast by Bi-Lo. In March last year, Bi-Lo completed a buyout of Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. for $560 million -- a deal that moved the combined company's headquarters to Jacksonville and made Bi-Lo the ninth-largest supermarket chain in the United States, with 688 stores.

"For right now, it's business as usual for both the Sweetbay and Winn-Dixie banners," said Bi-Lo spokesman Brian Wright, who added that Bi-Lo stores are similar in many ways to Winn-Dixie stores, including on price.

If Bi-Lo does switch Sweetbays into Bi-Los, one change that will come immediately with the deal is how shoppers save money.

Bi-Lo is one of many grocery chains that use a membership card, and through those cards it offers discounts each week on a rotating set of items when members swipe their cards at the register. That includes buy-one-get-one free items, "fuelperks!"Ě discounts on gas, senior discounts and 10 percent off any four bottles of wine.

Bi-Lo also doubles manufacturer coupons for membership cardholders.

r[email protected]

(813) 259-7919

Twitter: @DailyDeadline

[email protected]

(813) 259-7919

Twitter: @DailyDeadline

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