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    Scott's Store Count Said Poised for Cuts by Kroger

    FORT WAYNE, Ind. - In the weeks leading up to Kroger completing its acquisition of 18 Supervalu-owned Scott's Food & Pharmacy stores here, local speculation is that the store count might come down once the deal is done.

    FORT WAYNE, Ind. - In the weeks leading up to Kroger completing its acquisition of 18 Supervalu-owned Scott's Food & Pharmacy stores here, local speculation is that the store count might come down once the deal is done.

    In mid-April, Kroger announced plans to acquire 18 Scott's Food & Pharmacy stores in northeast Indiana from Supervalu. The stores will become part of Kroger's Indianapolis-based Central division, which currently operates 145 stores under the Kroger, Hilander, Owen's, and Pay Less banners in parts of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio.

    As of late last week, Kroger officials told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette they weren't ready to announce whether they will close any of the Scott's stores - or any Kroger stores, for that matter.

    John Elliott, an Indianapolis-based Kroger spokesman, told the paper that all possibilities are being considered.

    David Livingston, managing partner of Pewaukee, Wis.-based DJL Research LLC, said he believes Kroger purchased the stores to consolidate them, particularly the locations situated across the street from each other on West Jefferson Blvd. and Dupont Rd., which are less than two-tenths of a mile apart. Another two stores on Fort Wayne's far north side are less than one-tenth of a mile apart.

    Other Kroger and Scott's stores are less than 1 1/2 miles apart, including the Scott's on Maplecrest Road and the Kroger on St. Joe Center Road. The grocery chains operate competing stores in four additional northeast Indiana cities: New Haven, Auburn, Columbia City, and Rochester.

    Rick Zahm, Scott's s.v.p./operations and merchandising, said Kroger assumed all Scott's leases as part of the sale, and he was not aware of any of those leases expiring soon.

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