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    C.E.O. Says Bi-Lo, Now on the Block, Will Stay the Course

    GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A day after Lone Star Funds announced it's looking to sell Bi-Lo, the regional chain's president and c.e.o. reiterated his confidence in the strength of the business, and said the company will continue to pursue its current course, including capital expenditures in its markets.

    GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A day after Lone Star Funds announced it's looking to sell Bi-Lo, the regional chain's president and c.e.o. reiterated his confidence in the strength of the business, and said the company will continue to pursue its current course, including capital expenditures in its markets.

    "The strength of our brand and our commitment to providing exceptional customer service have helped establish Bi-Lo as a true leader in the fast-growing Southeast region," said Brian Hotarek in a statement.

    Hotarek said the chain has "achieved many milestones" over the last several years to reposition its business, "including decoupling from Ahold, implementing a core market strategy, outsourcing distribution, making major investments in technology, and implementing an aggressive store capital investment plan. We also recently announced the spin-off of Bruno's, which allows Bi-Lo to focus on our brand and our customers."

    Among other initiatives, Bi-Lo has committed $160 million in capital expenditures that it intends to continue using over the next 18 months in Greenville, S.C.; North Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Rock Hill, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Chattanooga, Tenn.

    "As we look to the future, we are confident that we have the potential to become an even stronger and more vibrant competitor in our markets," said Hotarek. "Thanks to the work that has been done over the past few years, we believe that Bi-Lo has a strategic plan in place and the resources available to maintain our position as a leading supermarket chain in the Southeast."

    Bi-Lo operates approximately 230 supermarkets under the Bi-Lo banner in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

    Private equity firm Lone Star Funds said Tuesday it intends to seek a buyer for the chain, which has come up short in many markets to the country's leading supermarket operator, Wal-Mart. No further developments will be released unless and until Lone Star's board of directors has approved a specific transaction, the company said in a statement.

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