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    A&P Negotiating Sale of Sav-A-Center Units

    MONTVALE, N.J. -- The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. here said yesterday it is actively seeking an exit from Louisiana via "advanced negotiations" with a number of buyers for its 21 Sav-A-Center stores based in the state.

    MONTVALE, N.J. -- The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. here said yesterday it is actively seeking an exit from Louisiana via "advanced negotiations" with a number of buyers for its 21 Sav-A-Center stores based in the state.

    A&P said that based on current discussions, it is optimistic that the Sav-A-Center operations can be sold to a single buyer that would be committed to the continuity of the business going forward.

    The decision to exit the market is consistent with a strategy to focus resources on the development and expansion of its core Northeast operations, the chain said.

    Eric Claus, A&P's president and c.e.o., said A&P was the first major retailer to reopen the majority of its stores after Hurricane Katrina.

    "Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our management and associates, we have rebuilt and revitalized Sav-A-Center, which is now a solid operation positioned to thrive under new ownership committed to long-term growth," Claus said.

    The company said it has retained William Blair & Company LLC as financial advisor in connection with this sale.

    A&P operates 406 stores in nine states and the District of Columbia, under the following trade names: A&P, Waldbaum's, The Food Emporium, Super Foodmart, Super Fresh, Farmer Jack, Sav-A-Center, and Food Basics.

    The company is in the process of buying New Jersey-based grocer and rival Pathmark Stores Inc., and has earlier said it is also negotiating the possible sale of its Farmer Jack operation in the Midwest.

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