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Aldi buys Harveys and Winn-Dixie supermarkets

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BATAVIA, Ill. — Aldi announced that it is “doubling down” on its U.S. expansion plans with a deal to acquire Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket locations from Southeastern Grocers, as the Jacksonville, Fla.-based retailer continues to divest supermarket assets.

The deal includes some 400 Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket outlets across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, Aldi said last month in announcing the definitive agreement between the companies.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2024, giving Aldi — which has mainly focused on organic growth — a trove of traditional grocery stores to incorporate into its strategic plans to compete with Kroger and Ahold Delhaize across the Southeast. Aldi has been expanding in the region, including the recent opening of its 26th regional headquarters and distribution center, in Loxley, Ala. The discount grocer plans to add 20 Aldi locations in the region by year’s end.

“The transaction supports our long-term growth strategy across the United States, including plans to add 120 new stores nationwide this year to reach a total of more than 2,400 stores by year-end,” said Jason Hart, chief executive officer at Aldi.

Aldi said it is reaffirming its growth plans at a time when many retailers are shrinking their footprint. The bullishness underscores Aldi’s position as one of the fastest-growing grocers in the country.

For Southeastern Grocers, the merger agreement represents a milestone in its transformational journey, said Anthony Hucker, the company’s president and CEO. The company has sold off a number of stores in recent years to improve its balance sheet. It phased out its Bi-Lo banner as part of a five-year transformation plan initiated as the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018. Hucker, a former Schnucks Markets and Giant Food executive, had been brought on board to lead the turnaround. Southeastern Grocers subsequently sold off some of its Harveys locations and a distribution center to Ahold Delhaize USA’s Food Lion chain.

Southeastern Grocers has agreed to divest its Fresco y Más operations via a sale of the banner to an investment group, which plans to maintain existing operations. On the heels of the Aldi-SEG agreement, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens agreed to acquire the prescription files of Winn-Dixie and Harveys stores.