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    Winn-Dixie Auctions Off 21 Fla. Stores

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Following a successful auction on May 9, bankrupt retailer Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. here has reached agreements to sell 21 stores in Florida to 14 purchasers, including Kash N' Karry, Wal-Mart, and Office Depot. The stores are part of a group of 35 locations that the company closed earlier this year.

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Following a successful auction on May 9, bankrupt retailer Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. here has reached agreements to sell 21 stores in Florida to 14 purchasers, including Kash N' Karry, Wal-Mart, and Office Depot. The stores are part of a group of 35 locations that the company closed earlier this year.

    Among the winning bidders for the stores: Florida's Kash N' Karry, which picked up one store each in Tampa, Sarasota, and Naples; real estate investment trust Equity One, which acquired a store in Vero Beach; Office Depot, which bid for two stores in Tampa-St. Petersburg and one store in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale; Wal-Mart, which gained a store in Pompano Beach; and WS Bravo Supermarket, a franchise chain that picked up a store in Orlando.

    "We are pleased with the results of the auction of the leases for these stores, which exceeded our expectation," said Peter Lynch, president and c.e.o. of Winn-Dixie, yesterday in a statement. "The proceeds from these sales will provide additional liquidity as we prepare to emerge from Chapter 11. We were able to place most of our associates in other Winn-Dixie locations, minimizing the impact of these store closings on our associates."

    Winn-Dixie plans to emerge from bankruptcy in the fall.

    The chain said the aggregate purchase price in the agreements for leases and equipment at the 21 stores is in excess of $15 million. The amount does not include inventory, which was sold previously in clearance sales at each location. Winn-Dixie said it will seek final bankruptcy court approval of these sale agreements at a future court hearing.

    Winn-Dixie currently operates 538 stores in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi. This total does not include the 35 stores in the U.S. that closed earlier this year or the 12 stores in the Bahamas that, as previously announced, are in the process of being sold.

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