Supervalu to buy area Food Lion locations

Locations in Winchester, Berryville, Front Royal, Stephens City to change ownership

As a result of the pending merger between grocery store giants Ahold and Delhaize Group, Supervalu is waltzing into the lion’s den and buying out 22 Food Lion locations, several of which are in Winchester.

According to a news release from Food Lion, the company will divest from 86 stores in connection with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s ongoing overview of the merger.

Supervalu will assume ownership of Food Lion locations at Fort Collier Road, Valley Avenue, Delco Plaza, Grocery Avenue and Sunnyside Plaza Circle in Winchester, along with locations on Remount Road in Front Royal and Fairfax Pike in Stephens City. Those locations will be converted into Supervalu’s Shop ‘N Save format.

The Food Lion in Strasburg will remain as is.

According to Jeffrey Swanson, a spokesperson with Supervalu, all former Food Lion employees will be able to keep their jobs at the same wage with comparable benefits under the new ownership.

“Our goal is for every employee that wants to stay, to have them stay,” Swanson said.

He said that while no specific date has been set for the takeover, he expected things to be finalized in just more than 100 days, pending the Federal Trade Commission’s approval.

He said each store will likely close for two to three days after the takeover for some light remodeling, sign changes, inventory resets, new point of sale equipment and training.

On the other side of the buyout, Christy Phillips-Brown is a spokeswoman for Food Lion. She said the sales are a necessary move to complete the regulatory process and ensure a competitive marketplace.

She confirmed that Food Lion employees who work in locations that are staying within the company will not be affected.

“We are making sure we treat associates with dignity and respect in this process,” she said.

Supervalu will also be taking over locations in Hagerstown, Maryland; Berryville; Purcellville; Waynesboro; and Martinsburg, West Virginia, along with other locations.

According to the news release from Food Lion, the 86 stores sold represent 4.1 percent of the Ahold and Delhaize Group companies’ total store count and 3.2 percent of their combined 2015 net sales.

A separate news release from Ahold said the company will also offer a 1 billion euros capital repayment and reverse stock split prior to the merger. Both actions are expected to take place during trading hours on the New York Stock Exchange today.

The two companies first announced their intentions to merge June 24, 2015. Their shareholders approved the merger in March 2016, and the Federal Trade Commission’s approval will be one of the last steps in the process.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com

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Jake Zuckerman