Bi-Lo Holdings, the parent company of Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie grocery stores that's buying Sweetbay supermarkets, said it will close 13 stores as part of the deal, including five in the Tampa Bay area.
Bi-Lo said Tuesday it would close eight stores it is acquiring and five of its existing stores because of their proximity to other locations. All of the stores, which are in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia, will close between March 22 and July 12.
Earlier Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission said Bi-Lo agreed to sell 12 supermarkets in order to complete the purchase of 165 Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid's supermarkets from their Delhaize America parent. The acquisition, which has been pending since May, includes 73 Tampa-based Sweetbay stores and the leases to 10 closed Sweetbay locations.
The FTC said the proposed purchase would have harmed consumers through higher prices, diminished quality and reduced service in certain markets that in Florida include Arcadia, Dunnellon, Lake Placid, Madison and Wauchula. Of the 12 supermarkets to be sold, four involve Sweetbay stores in Florida, which will become Rowe's IGA stores.
Bi-Lo expects the $265 million acquisition of the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid's supermarkets will begin on March 22 and end on May 31, pending final approval. Bi-Lo has said it plans to convert the Sweetbay stores to the Winn-Dixie brands but has not provided details.
With headquarters in Jacksonville, Bi-Lo owns 697 supermarkets in the southeastern United States. Delhaize America is a subsidiary of Belgian grocery store operator Delhaize. It owns and operates 1,553 supermarkets in the Northeast and Southeast under six banners: Food Lion, Sweetbay, Harveys, Reid's, Hannaford and Bottom Dollar Food.