For Sale: Bottom Dollar grocery stores - report

WEDNESDAY: After just four years in the market, Europe's Delhaize grocery chain has put its 46 Bottom Dollar Foods discount stores, in the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley areas, plus 20 more in the Pittsburgh and Cleveland regions, up for sale, reports Food Trade News here. 

THURSDAY UPDATE: Delhaize America doesn't comment on acquisition/divestures, spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown tells me. The company also operates Food Lion and Hannaford groceries.

EARLIER: Reports Food Trade News: "According to several retailers who were sent real estate profile sheets in late July, all bids for the Bottom Dollar Foods stores were due by August 13. We’ve also been told that Wells Fargo is serving as Delhaize America’s investment advisor for this process...

"Several analysts said they believe that Delhaize would attempt to sell all 66 stores as a bloc. Supervalu, which could utilize the locations for potential Save-A-Lots or to dole out to independent customers, and Aldi are believed to be very interested in making a deal." Other maybe buyers include regional store operators Wakefern Corp. (PriceRite, Fresh Grocer), Giant Eagle and Ahold USA.

Citing the deal sheet covering 46 stores in the Philadelphia and Allentown areas, Food Trade News said most of the stores are leased, except company-owned sites in Bellmawr, Beverly, and Woodbury, in South Jersey; Trenton; Chew Ave. and Castor Ave., Philadelphia; Levittown, Bucks County; and sites in Nazareth and Reading. "Most of the leasehold rents are in the $10-12 range, but run as high as $26.23 per square foot (Grays Ferry, Phila.) and as low as $1.76 (East Windsor, NJ)." Some run for up to 20 years. Most are around 20,000 sq. ft.

The busiest Bottom Dollar in the Philadelphia-Allentown area is on North Broad St. in Philadelphia, with average weekly sales of nearly $300,000, vs. just  over $100,000 in East Windsor; the group averaged around $157,000.