CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. here said last week it has reached an agreement with Pay Less Supermarkets, Anderson, Ind., to acquire the eight Pay Less stores for an undisclosed amount of cash.
stores would continue to operate under the Pay Less name, with the same business hours, services, policies and employment levels. According to Don Becker, president of Kroger's central marketing area, headquartered in Indianapolis, "This merger will open several new markets for us as we continue to expand our business in Indiana."
Earlier this year, Kroger acquired Groub Co., Seymour, Ind., a 28-unit southern Indiana chain. Pay Less operates in central Indiana.
Larry D. Contos, president and chief executive officer of Pay Less, said the decision to sell "was obviously a difficult and emotional decision, [but] it is the correct business decision for the future of Pay Less, its associates, our customers and the communities in which we operate.
"It is evident to me and my family that now is the right time to place our life's work into the hands of a company that has the ability to lead Pay Less and its employees into the next century. Kroger has become a leader in the grocery industry in every way, treating its associates and customers with the same values that have become synonymous with the Pay Less name."
Pay Less was founded in 1947 by Contos' father, H.J. "Bud" Contos, at a single store in Anderson. The company opened its second store in Lafayette, Ind., in 1960, a year before Larry Contos succeeded his father. Pay Less' annual sales are estimated at about $250 million.