BI-LO parent is selling stores to Food Lion; B-L is not on the list

The BI-LO store in Batesburg-Leesville is not among the stores listed to be sold to Food Lion as Southeastern Grocers streamlines its assets. Staff photo by Tony Baughman

The long-term future of the BI-LO Supermarket location in Batesburg-Leesville is in doubt as it is not on a list of 62 stores that Southeastern Grocers Inc. is selling to Food Lion.

BI-LO’s parent company, based in Jacksonville, Fla., announced Tuesday that it had reached an agreement to divest itself of 46 BI-LO stores and 16 Harveys Supermarkets. These assets will be sold to Ahold Delhaize USA, which owns the Food Lion chain.

Food Lion, headquartered in Salisbury, N.C., operates more than 1,000 supermarkets in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.

“The successful execution of our long-term transformation strategy may at times require difficult decisions,” said Anthony Hucker, President and CEO of Southeastern Grocers Inc., in a corporate release. “Today’s transactions are a critical strategic move and an important next step for our continued growth and broader evolution as a business. These actions will facilitate greater investment in our remaining footprint so we can continue to provide an exceptional shopping experience our customers can always count on.”

According to the announcement, Southeastern Grocers Inc. is planning to concentrate on its Winn Dixie and Fresco y Mas brands, while retaining a select group of Harveys stores. Selling off its BI-LO brand is “part of its business transformation strategy to strengthen its overall performance in an increasingly competitive sector,” the company release stated.

The sale of 46 BI-LO locations to Food Lion includes the Travis Avenue store in Saluda and two locations in Columbia (Devine Street and St. Andrews Road), according to a list published Tuesday by Food Lion.

“These stores will not begin their staggered transition from the BI-LO and Harveys Supermarket banners to Food Lion until early 2021,” the release from Southeastern Grocers stated. “The transaction with Food Lion is anticipated to be complete by April 2021, pending regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.”

The BI-LO store on Highway 378 in Lexington, its two locations in Aiken and one in North Augusta also are not on the list of acquisitions announced by Food Lion. Southeastern Grocers has not responded to a request from The Twin-City News for information on the specific future plans for the Batesburg-Leesville BI-LO storefront.

The company’s original announcement did say that Southeastern Grocers “is actively exploring strategic options for the remaining BI-LO stores, including other potential transactions.”

Though Batesburg-Leesville is not among the towns Food Lion has chosen to serve during this acquisition, in its announcement the company boasted of its expanding footprint in South Carolina and Georgia.

“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 its company 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.”

Currently, Food Lion operates three supermarkets in Lexington with other stores in Chapin, South Congaree, and West Columbia.