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    Thriftway Sells Stores to Kroger, Remke, Bigg's

    CINCINNATI - The all-but-defunct grocery chain Thriftway has sold eight stores to rivals in the greater Cincinnati area, with six of the sites going to the Kroger Co., based here, while Erlanger, Ky.-based Remke Markets and Milford, Ohio-based Bigg's Supermarkets snapped up one each.

    CINCINNATI - The all-but-defunct grocery chain Thriftway has sold eight stores to rivals in the greater Cincinnati area, with six of the sites going to the Kroger Co., based here, while Erlanger, Ky.-based Remke Markets and Milford, Ohio-based Bigg's Supermarkets snapped up one each.

    Kroger consented to buy the Thriftway stores from Lakeland, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., Thriftway's parent company, after weeks of negotiations. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    "We're planning to remodel and upgrade the stores over the next several months and will reopen the stores under the Kroger banner as those renovations are completed," Kroger spokesman Gary Rhodes told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "These stores will provide good growth opportunities for Kroger and added convenience for our customers."

    The stores will join Kroger's Cincinnati division, which runs 103 stores in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. The company hopes to keep many displaced employees and has already begun interviewing former Thriftway workers, Rhodes told the newspaper.

    The stores Kroger purchased were among the eight Thriftway sites Winn-Dixie shuttered last week, about two months after saying it would close or sell all 21 Thriftway stores in the greater Cincinnati area because of intense competition.

    According to Remke president Eric Rabe, he reached an agreement with Winn-Dixie last week to purchase the 62,000-square-foot Thriftway store on Burlington Pike in Florence, Ky., which will be Remke's eighth store and is scheduled to reopen next week under the chain's banner.

    "We'll close the store early one evening next week, bring in about 125 workers to cut meat and put the produce up, then open the next morning at eight o'clock," Rabe told the Enquirer. "We think this part of Boone County is a tremendous growth area, and we've been working for a while to put a store in that area."

    Bigg's Supermarkets, a wholly owned subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Supervalu, has purchased the lease to Thrifway's Hyde Park Plaza store in Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Post reports. The purchase places Bigg's in direct competition with Kroger, which is located in the same shopping center. According to Bigg's officials, the company could take over the store as soon as July 15. If completed, the transaction would give Bigg's its 12th store in the area.

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