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Harris Teeter, Lowes Swap Stores

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Harris Teeter Supermarkets here said it has agreed to acquire 10 Lowes Foods supermarkets in the central Carolinas region in exchange for six Harris Teeter locations in western North Carolina and an additional $26.5 million.

The transaction is expected to close during Harris Teeter’s fiscal third quarter, which ends July 1.

Harris Teeter said three of the stores it is acquiring will be converted to a “new, innovative format featuring a worldwide variety of beer, wine, specialty foods and other selected merchandise.”

The Lowes Foods stores that Harris Teeter will acquire include one in Mint Hill, N.C.; one in Fort Mill, S.C.; one in Weddington, N.C.; three in Charlotte, N.C.; one in Davidson, N.C.; one in Cornelius, N.C.; one in Huntersville, N.C.; and one in Wesley Chapel, N.C.

2012 Top 75: Harris Teeter Is Ranked No. 34

The Harris Teeter stores that Lowes Foods will acquire include one in Asheville, N.C.; two in Gastonia, N.C.; one in Hickory, N.C.; one in Morganton, N.C.; and one in Shelby, N.C.

Harris Teeter said it plans to temporarily close the acquired stores for five to 16 weeks for remodeling, stocking and training of employees. One of the acquired stores is expected to be subleased.

In connection with this transaction, Harris Teeter said it expects to record pre-tax non-cash impairment losses and other related expenses totaling between $23 million and $26 million during the second half of fiscal 2012. The after-tax impact is expected to range between $14 million, or 29 cents per diluted share and $16 million, or 32 cents per diluted share.

2012 Top 75: Alex Lee Inc. (Lowes Foods) Is Ranked No. 43

“This transaction aligns with our strategic plans to replace rural store locations with more urban locations with higher density of our target demographic groups,” said Thomas W. Dickson, chairman and chief executive officer, Harris Teeter. “It provides us with the opportunity to explore in selected locations an innovative format that we think our customers will find exciting.”

Lowes Foods, which is owned by Hickory, N.C.-based Alex Lee Inc., plans to reopen under the Lowes Foods banner the six stores acquired from Harris Teeter after a brief closing for remodeling, stocking and training of employees, according to Harris Teeter.

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