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MONTVALE, N.J. -- Putting an end to weeks of speculation, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Inc. said yesterday that it is in the midst of negotiations for the potential sale of its 66 Farmer Jack stores in the greater Detroit area.
A&P said in a statement that it was selling the stores because of "unsatisfactory operating trends in that market, and the need to devote resources to its expanding Northeast core business."
"While this is the correct course of action for A&P, it is also a difficult one," said A&P president and chairman Eric Claus. "Our efforts to revitalize our Midwest operations have been supported wholeheartedly by our management and store associates, and by our local labor unions. We appreciate their efforts and commitment as well as the patronage of our shoppers, and regret that ongoing market conditions and other priorities necessitated this decision."
The grocer said it has told its affected employees and their union representatives that it expects to sell of groups of stores to several bidders.
A&P declined to offer additional details about the negotiations "until definitive acquisition agreements are reached over the next few months."