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    Bi-Lo Breaks Ground for Largest-ever Store; Unveils $75 Million Capital Plan

    MAULDIN, S.C. - Regional chain Bi-Lo/Bruno's said on Friday it plans to invest more than $75 million in the upstate South Carolina region in the next 18 months, including a new Super Bi-Lo to be built in Simpsonville.

    The Super Bi-Lo will be the second of the retailer's new prototype and the largest supermarket the chain has ever built. The first Super Bi-Lo opened last year in Columbia, S.C.

    The newest Super Bi-Lo will be located in Simpsonville at the intersection of Highways 14 and 417 and will be 63,000 square feet. Representing an investment of more than $10 million, the store will open in early summer of 2007 with approximately 100 employees. McDonald Properties, the developer, has plans to build an additional 16,000 square feet of retail space for other businesses at the site.

    In remarks prior to the groundbreaking on Friday, president and c.e.o. Dean Cohagan outlined plans for the company's growth in the Upstate region for the remainder of 2006 and 2007. "We have been completing a lot of market research, identifying the best sites, and working on store designs to serve our customers and build our company," he said. "Now we're ready and eager to vigorously pursue new growth opportunities in our core markets. This is a new era for Bi-Lo."

    The Super Bi-Lo format features an expanded selection of grocery items, more varieties of organic and natural foods, full-service meat and seafood markets, a greatly enhanced wine selection, and movies rentals via a kiosk for $1.49 per day. The store's interior features a new, bright decor design.

    Super Bi-Lo also provides many one-stop shopping conveniences, including a coffee shop, sushi, and a full-service bank. The new Simpsonville store will also include a drive-through pharmacy and Wellspot Health and Wellness Center, which will be staffed by family nurse practitioners who can provide treatment and diagnosis for routine conditions.

    In addition to the $10 million Super Bi-Lo project in Simpsonville, the company also announced plans to expand its existing store locations on Pelham Road at I-85 in Greenville and 501 Old Greenville Highway in Clemson, at a combined cost of approximately $9 million.

    The Pelham Road location will be expanded from 55,000 square feet to 63,000 square feet and will also carry the Super Bi-Lo banner. New amenities will include a drive-through pharmacy, Wellspot Health and Wellness Center, bank, coffee shop, and expanded perishable department offerings. The expansion will begin soon and is expected to be completed in late spring of 2007.

    The Clemson location will be expanded from 47,000 to 53,000 square feet and will include expanded perishable offerings, a new drive-through pharmacy, bank, and coffee shop. The expansion is also expected to be complete in spring of 2007.

    Bi-Lo will also remodel an additional four stores in the Upstate area within the next 12 months at a total cost of between $8-$12 million.

    Finally, Bi-Lo is pursuing at least six new or relocation store sites in Greer, Anderson, Wren, Moonville, and Greenville and will announce those locations as negotiations are finalized with developers. These projects average $7.5 million to $10 million each, depending on the size of the store and the specific location.

    Bi-Lo/Bruno's operates a total of 310 supermarkets in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and Alabama.

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