Southeastern Grocers Inc (SEG), parent company of Winn-Dixie grocery stores, announced on August 16 it entered into definitive agreements with ALDI and Fresco Retail Group, LLC to strategically divest its businesses.
ALDI will acquire all outstanding SEG capital stock in an all-cash transaction, which includes all SEG grocery operations under the Harvey’s and Winn-Dixie Supermarket banners. The transaction includes 400 stores in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana; two of the 400 stores involved in the sale are in St. Charles Parish, Winn-Dixie’s Luling and Destrehan locations.
“Following the completion of the sales process, ALDI will serve the customers and communities of Winn-Dixie and Harvey’s Supermarkets through the continued operation of the banner’s existing stores,” SEG said in its recent press release. “The retailer will also evaluate which locations will convert to the ALDI format. For those stores that are not converted, ALDI intends for them to continue to operate as Winn-Dixie and Harvey’s Supermarket stores.”
The merger is it not expected to be finalized until the first half of next year. Both SEG and ALDI have both stated publicly in similar statements, no management decision has yet been made on which stores will convert to ALDI branded stores, and which will remain as Winn-Dixie stores.
Despite reassurances, the corporate statements have done little to stop social media-fueled rumors and speculation regarding the fate of the two St. Charles Parish Winn-Dixie stores, particularly its pharmacy business. Some locals noted other local ALDI stores do not appear to offer pharmacy services, leading to online speculation regarding the fate of the Winn-Dixie Luling and Destrehan instore pharmacy units.
Following a request for more information on the merger and the fate of its Winn-Dixie pharmacy business, SEG advised the Herald Guide it was currently not granting media interviews, but it did make one comment via email regarding the fate of its Winn-Dixie pharmacy units, appearing to confirm its pharmacy units were not part of the ALDI merger.
“The pharmacy business will be divested in separate transactions,” SEC Media said in an email statement to the Herald Guide on Friday, August 18. “We’ll share more information as it’s available.”
In a prepared statement on August 16 announcing the upcoming merger, ALDI CEO Jason Hart mirrored SEG’s earlier comments on what its plans were with the new Winn-Dixie stores, commenting further on ALDI’s growth plans for the remainder of the year.
“The transaction supports our long-term growth strategy across the United States, including plans to add new stores nationwide this year to reach a total of more than 2,400 stores by year-end,” Hart said.
The privately held German company ALDI was founded by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht in 1946, after the brothers took over their mother’s store in Essen, Germany. According to the ALDI corporate website, the German company’s U.S. headquarters are based in Batavia, Illinois, operating in 36 states with over 25,000 American employees. ALDI currently operates in 11 countries, with over 6,500 stores and employs approximately 155,000 people worldwide, as disclosed by ALDI’s United Kingdom unit website.