North Carolina-based Food Lion announced Wednesday that it will acquire the Statesboro Bi-Lo grocery store as part of a 62-store deal with Southeastern Grocers.
The Statesboro Bi-Lo is one of 46 Bi-Lo stores and 16 Harveys Supermarkets in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina that will be purchased by Food Lion. The conversion to Food Lion will take place sometime between January and April of 2021. Bi-Lo stores in Metter and Sylvania and Harveys in Pembroke, Springfield and Reidsville also are part of the Food Lion deal.
Bi-Lo and all other stores would remain open under their current names until the transaction is complete.
“We are so excited to add these new locations to our more than 630 stores across Georgia and the Carolinas,” Food Lion President Meg Ham said in a statement. “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.”
Food Lion previously operated several grocery stores in Statesboro, but left the market in 2003.
While no announcement was made about employees at specific stores, Food Lion said it expected to hire more than 4,650 associates currently employed by Southeastern Grocers to serve customers at the 62 new stores. Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion operates more than 1,000 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states and has more than 77,000 employees.
Southeastern Grocers CEO Anthony Hucker said the sale is part of the company’s plan to concentrate more on its Winn-Dixie and Harveys stores in Florida.
“The successful execution of our long-term transformation strategy may at times require difficult decisions,” Hucker said in a release. “Today’s transactions are a critical strategic move and an important next step for our continued growth and broader evolution as a business.”
According to the Supermarket News website, Jacksonville-based Southeastern is looking to phase out the Bi-Lo banner. Overall, SEG currently operates 550 grocery stores under the Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Harveys and Fresco y Más banners in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.
In 2009, Food Lion made an attempt to acquire Bi-Lo in a bankruptcy proceeding, but the deal never materialized.