Harris Teeter has finally found a buyer, and it's a big one. Kroger - the largest U.S. grocery store chain - is spending about $2.5 billion to buy the Matthews-based company.
But don't expect a name change at your local stores. Kroger says it will continue to operate the Harris Teeter brand.
Harris Teeter has been searching for a buyer for several months, and its CEO said in a press release the company is excited to become a part of Kroger.
On a conference call with reporters and investors Tuesday morning, Kroger senior vice president Mike Schlotman tried to reassure employees of both companies that their jobs are safe.
"We see Harris Teeter as a strong merchant, and we expect to grow their franchise, just as we expect to continue to grow Kroger's franchise," Schlotman said. "We have no plans to close stores, and associates will continue to have employment opportunities with both companies."
The acquisition gives Kroger a much larger presence in the Southeast. Harris Teeter has more than 200 grocery stores from Maryland down to Florida, and it also operates distribution centers or a dairy facility in several North Carolina cities.
As a subsidiary of Kroger, Harris Teeter will maintain its headquarters in Matthews. Kroger will keep its headquarters in Ohio. Regulators still need to sign off on the deal.