BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Bruno's here said it has sold seven more stores in Georgia, raising to 29 the total units sold from a group of 42 Georgia and South Carolina stores the chain put up for sale this fall.
> The seven stores are all Piggly Wigglys. Bi-Lo, a Mauldin, S.C.-based Ahold chain, bought four stores, in Mettor, Millen, Swainsboro and Vidalia, Ga. Harvey's Supermarkets, Nashville, Ga., acquired three units, in Swainsboro, Sylvania and Waynesboro, Ga. Last month, Harvey's acquired four other Piggly Wigglys from Bruno's.
Of the 13 stores Bruno's plans to close, seven are Piggly Wigglys in Georgia (Macon, Madison, Monroe, Perry, Thomson, Valdosta and Warner Robins), and six are FoodMax stores -- three each in South Carolina (Aiken, Beaufort and Orangeburg) and Georgia (Augusta, North Augusta and Savannah).
Kranc declined to specify why buyers were not interested in the 13 stores. The Piggly Wiggly stores average 30,000 square feet and operate with a neighborhood price format. The FoodMax units average 48,000 square feet and operate with a conventional discount format.
In mid-October, Bruno's officials said they planned to sell 42 stores in South Carolina and south-central Georgia as part of an effort to focus capital spending on building market share in areas with greater potential. At the time, observers said the 42 stores and the distribution center could sell for $150 million to $185 million.
Bruno's said in mid-November that 14 units were acquired by Food Giant Supermarkets, Sikeston, Mo.; three by Food Lion, Salisbury, N.C.; and one by the Atlanta division of Kroger Co., Cincinnati. Ken Storey, president of Food Giant, said the 14 stores Food Giant acquired will keep the Piggly Wiggly name, which the company already uses on stores throughout the South.
Last week, Kranc declined to disclose the price for the 29 stores sold. She said Bruno's does not contemplate any further store sales -- "although we are always reviewing and evaluating assets to be sure we're doing the right things strategically," she told SN in October. At the time, she said Bruno's was looking at different options for using the funds from the store sales. "While paying down debt is one consideration, it is not the major consideration. The major goal is to better focus our spending on building market share," she noted.
Observers told SN Bruno's had been expected to sell some stores since it was acquired in August 1995 by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., New York. After the latest sales and store closures, Bruno's will have 213 stores in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.