German supermarket chain Aldi is acquiring hundreds of Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket stores in the southeastern United States, the company announced on Wednesday.
Aldi said the deal covered about 400 supermarkets in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Some locations will be converted into Aldi stores, while others will continue to operate under their current brand.
Aldi, a discount retailer, opened its first stores in the United States in 1976. It has accelerated its expansion over the past two decades and now has more than 2,000 stores nationwide.
The CEO of Aldi USA, Jason Hart, said in a statement that the company hoped to continue growing in the United States and that it wanted to add 120 new stores in the country this year.
Aldi’s famous for its discounted prices, its private label items and the sparse design of its stores, which are smaller than most supermarkets.
“Like Aldi, Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket have a long history and many loyal customers in the South East and we look forward to serving them for years to come,” said Mr Hart.
If approved by regulators, the deal is expected to close in the first half of 2024. Aldi has not disclosed financial details of the acquisition.
Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket are owned by Southeastern Grocers, which has seen some uproar in recent years.
Southeast Grocers said in a statement that it sold the supermarket chains to Aldi as part of a broader divestment strategy.
In a separate deal, Southeastern Grocers is selling its 28 Fresco y Más supermarkets and four Fresco y Más pharmacies to an investment group, the statement said. The Fresco y Más stores will not change their operation.
The deal with Aldi coincides with a proposed merger of the country’s two largest supermarket chains, Kroger and Albertsons.
The companies proposed the merger in October 2022, but it did not work out has been criticized by consumer advocates, independent supermarket chains and politicians who said it would limit shoppers’ choice of where to buy groceries.
Seven secretaries of state said on Wednesday they were against the merger because it would give the companies too much control over the food market. In a letter to Lina Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, officials urged her to “stop this corporate consolidation that is robbing Americans of their hard-earned wages and livelihoods.”
The letter was signed by the secretaries of state in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont.