Spartan Selling Two Distributors

May 8, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — Spartan Stores Inc. announced yesterday it is selling L&L/Jiroch and J.F. Walker, two of its convenience store distributor subsidiaries.

The announcement indicated that Spartan had signed the sales agreement with the H.T. Hackney Co., a privately held wholesale convenience-store distributor headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn.

The transaction agreement — to be executed within 45 days — entails a purchase price of about $42 million, money that Spartan says it will use to reduce bank debt. According to Craig C. Sturken, Spartan’s president and CEO, the sale will “further strengthen our financial position and allow us to focus resources on our core grocery operations.”

The sale does not include another Spartan subsidiary, United Wholesale Grocery Co., a 12-unit cash and carry convenience store distribution firm.

According to Spartan, L&L/Jiroch and J.F. Walker generated $720 million in sales for the fiscal year ended March 29. The two firms operate distribution facilities here and in Louisville and Columbus, Ohio.

Spartan Stores operates 80 supermarkets and 21 deep-discount drug stores in Michigan and Ohio. Among its firm are Aschraft’s Markets, Family Fare Supermarkets, Food Town, Glen’s Markets, Great Day Food Centers, Prevo’s Family Markets and the Pharm.

The firm also distributes more than 40,000 private-label and national brand products to more than 330 independent grocery stores.

The H.T. Hackney Company, established 102 years ago, is one of the country’s largest privately owned wholesale distributing companies with revenues — upon completion of the transaction — that will exceed $3 billion.

It distributes more than 25,000 products in 21 states and serves more than 20,000 retail customers.           

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