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    A&P Set to Exit New Orleans with Sav-A-Center Sell-off

    MONTVALE, N.J. -- The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. here said Saturday it has set up its exit from New Orleans, the last of its non-core markets, with agreements to sell 19 New Orleans-area Sav-A-Center stores to Rouse's Supermarket, and two other units to buyers including a local independent.

    MONTVALE, N.J. -- The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. here said Saturday it has set up its exit from New Orleans, the last of its non-core markets, with agreements to sell 19 New Orleans-area Sav-A-Center stores to Rouse's Supermarket, and two other units to buyers including a local independent.

    A&P said the sale of the Sav-A-Center operation would complete the grocer’s pullout from non-core markets, leaving only the core Northeast as its operating territory, in line with its “strategic transformation.”

    Earlier this year, A&P said it would boost the Northeast operation considerably by buying Pathmark Stores Inc., a transaction is currently under FTC review but expected to be completed during the second half of A&P's fiscal year 2007.

    "This marks a critical step in A&P's strategic transformation, enabling us to focus all resources on our core operations in the Northeast,” said Eric Claus, president & c.e.o. of A&P, said of the New Orleans deal.

    Claus said the sale of most of the stores to Rouse's was in line with its hope to spin off a largely intact business. A&P said that, as stipulated by the sale agreements, “substantially all current Sav-A-Center associates will be offered positions by new owners.” It added that it expects the transfer of ownership to be completed over approximately the next six weeks.

    A&P currently operates 337 stores in eight states and the District of Columbia under the following trade names: A&P, Waldbaum's, The Food Emporium, Super Foodmart, Super Fresh, Sav-A-Center and Food Basics.

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