German supermarket chain Aldi is growing quickly in the southeast U.S. — and not just by building new stores, but now through a major acquisition.
Aldi announced that it is taking over Southeastern Grocers’ Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket stores, according to a news release Wednesday morning. The acquisition includes about 400 stores across Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. The price of the sale was not disclosed.
Aldi said it will evaluate which stores will be converted into Aldi locations. Others will continue to operate as Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket stores. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2024, the grocer said.
“The time was right to build on our growth momentum and help residents in the Southeast save on their grocery bills,” stated Aldi CEO Jason Hart. “The transaction supports our long-term growth strategy across the United States, including plans to add 120 new stores nationwide this year to reach a total of more than 2,400 stores by year-end.”
Aldi was the fastest-growing grocery chain last year with a focus on the southeast U.S. amid high inflation pinching consumer wallets, according to commercial real estate firm JLL. But competition is steep in Florida with Publix’s dominance. Aldi grew by 1.87 million square feet, while Publix added 1.2 million square feet in 2022.
By visits, Publix dominates in Florida with more than 600 million visits, and Aldi is the fourth-most popular grocery chain in the state at 43 million, according to JLL.
But what is the second-most visited grocery chain in Florida? It’s Winn-Dixie.
While Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers has stores across the region, most — 75% — are concentrated in Florida.
The company experienced several road bumps in the last decade. It filed for bankruptcy in 2018 and had to close nearly 100 stores to restructure. Then Southeastern Grocers tried to go public in 2021 but backed out later that year.
Now it’s divesting all of its stores. While Aldi gets Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket stores, another deal places the 28 Fresco y Más stores catering to Florida’s Hispanic and Caribbean communities under Fresco Retail Group, LLC, an investment group focusing on food and retail.
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“Our successful transformational journey has created a unique opportunity with leading partners who share our vision and common commitments to creating value for their customers,” said Southeastern Grocer’s CEO Anthony Hucker in a statement. “We believe these next steps will fuel a phenomenal experience for our customers, new opportunities for our associates and increased value for our shareholders.”