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Food Lion takes big step in Bi-Lo stores purchase

Ross Norton //November 11, 2020//

Food Lion takes big step in Bi-Lo stores purchase

Ross Norton //November 11, 2020//

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Food Lion has moved forward with the purchase of 15 Bi-Los in the Upstate and two in Columbia. (Photo/Provided)Food Lion on Tuesday announced a big step forward with plans to expand its store network through previously announced plans to purchase 62 Bi-Lo and Harveys Supermarket stores from Southeastern Grocers.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has granted early termination of a required waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976, the company said in a news release. Termination of the requirement satisfies one of the conditions of completing the purchase of the stores, which are located in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

In addition to that transaction, Food Lion will be served by Ahold Delhaize USA Distribution LLC, through the acquisition of the Mauldin distribution center. ADUSA Distribution expects to hire more than 800 associates to support Food Lion’s network of stores, the news release said. The transaction is anticipated to be complete in the first half of 2021. Food Lion is a company of Ahold Delhaize USA, the U.S. division of Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize.

“We are thrilled to move forward to add these new locations to our more than 630 existing stores across Georgia and the Carolinas,” Food Lion President Meg Ham said in the news release. “Nourishing our neighbors with fresh, quality products at affordable prices is core to everything we do. We look forward to opening these stores early next year and welcoming our neighbors in these towns and cities into their new Food Lion.”

The transaction does not include every Bi-Lo in South Carolina, but it does include 38 statewide and 15 in the Upstate and (.pdf), according to a Food Lion representative.

Food Lion said in June that it plans to hire 4,650 employees. That number includes employees who currently work at those Bi-Lo and Harveys Supermarket stores who apply for and secure one of the jobs, according to Matt Harakal, Food Lion’s manager for external communications. Each Food Lion employs 40 to 50 people.

With Tuesday’s announcement, Food Lion is actively recruiting employees, the release said.

The stores will remain open under their Bi-Lo and Harveys Supermarket names until the transaction is complete, which is expected to take place over a staggered period from January to April, pending customary closing requirements. Food Lion plans eventually to operate all of the stores under the Food Lion banner.

Food Lion was the first grocery retailer in the country to establish a partnership with Feeding America to develop a retail food rescue program more than 20 years ago, the release said, and all stores in the Food Lion network are paired with a local feeding agency to receive donations through Food Lion’s retail food rescue program and its hunger-relief platform, Food Lion Feeds.

This year, based on unprecedented need caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Food Lion made its largest one-time hunger relief gift in the company’s history, donating more than $3.1 million to support its food bank partners and medical research, the release said. The company also made additional gifts this year for hunger relief, including donating more than 123 million meals through efforts including volunteerism, funding to support food bank transportation capacity,  and funding to support new school distribution models to address child hunger.

“Caring for families and communities is who we are at Food Lion,” Ham said in the release. “We know that our neighbors are counting on us now more than ever and we are proud to stand beside our food bank partners, doing our part to bring meals and hope to families in need,” Ham said.