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Food Lion expands in Carolinas, Georgia with new store acquisitions

SALISBURY — Food Lion is purchasing 62 Bi-Lo and Harveys Supermarkets in an expansion announced Wednesday.

Many of the new stores are located in Georgia, but others are in North and South Carolina.

“It does considerably expand our footprint in Georgia specifically,” said Matt Harakal, the manager of external communications at Food Lion, which is headquartered in Salisbury.

Those stores will join over 630 existing stores in the Carolinas and Georgia, Food Lion President Meg Ham said in the news release. The stores being acquired fall under Southeastern Grocers, Inc. That is also the parent company of Winn-Dixie stores and Fresco y Mas. Food Lion is not acquiring an entire chain, Harakal said. Rather, it is location specific.

According to a Southeastern Grocers press release, the company “has made the strategic decision to no longer operate stores under the Bi-Lo banner to allow for greater investment in growing the Fresco y Mas, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie banners.”

The release mentioned the sale of 46 Bi-Los and 16 Harveys Supermarkets to Food Lion, a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize. Southeastern Grocers is “actively exploring strategic options for the remaining Bi-Lo stores, including other potential transactions,” the release stated.

The newly acquired stores will have about 75 associates per store, Harakal said. That adds up to about new 4,650 employees in the newly acquired locations alone.

The application process will be open, he said. Existing employees at the Bi-Los and Harveys Supermarkets will have to interview for positions. Harakal said that information would be shared in the specific locations for hiring events at new stores.

“We’re always looking for great people to join our team,” he said.

The newly sold Bi-Los and Harveys will remain open until there is a staggered transition to Food Lions taking place from January to April 2021, a news release said.

The deal also includes a distribution center to support the new and existing Food Lion stores. The ADUSA Distribution Center is in Maudlin, S.C., and is expected to be handed over in the “first half of 2021,” the news release said.

The Southeastern Grocers release also mentioned a separate transition of some of their in-store pharmacies to CVS and Walgreens. Harakal confirmed that those will not be in the newly acquired stores.

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