Business

Harris Teeter confirms it's considering possible sale

Posted February 14, 2013

— That Harris Teeter in your neighborhood might be changing owners.

The Matthews-based company, which operates more than 20 stores in the Triangle and 136 in the state, confirmed Wednesday that it has been approached by two private equity firms that want to buy the chain. The company has retained financial services firm JP Morgan to help mull what it calls "strategic alternatives."

Harris Teeter is the 11th largest employer in Wake County, behind Progress Energy, according to state data.

In an announcement posted on its website, the supermarket chain also said it would continue its plan to expand the number of stores it operates and to maintain its current distribution and manufacturing operations.

The discussions do not mean the chain will be sold.

"There can be no assurance that these discussions will result in any transaction," Harris Teeter said in a statement. "If a transaction were entered into, there can be no assurance as to the price, timing or other terms of such transaction. The company does not plan to provide any additional information until such discussions are concluded."

Possible buyers, according to Reuters, include larger grocery chains such as Kroger and Publix.

Customers unhappy about possible Harris Teeter sale Customers unhappy about possible Harris Teeter sale

Both The Wall Street Journal and Reuters news service reported a possible sale Tuesday, sending Harris Teeter shares on the New York Stock Exchange up 6.6 percent in value to $39.50. On Wednesday, shares climbed as high as $41.67. They closed at $40.72.

Mike Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University, says the news is a positive overall for the economy.

"I think it is a sign of better economic times," he said. "Usually, you see mergers and acquisitions tail off when the economy is sour, and everyone is on edge and not really knowing what the economic future holds."

Walden said he doesn't expect shoppers will see much of a difference other than the possibility of losing the Harris Teeter brand.

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  • ConservativeVoter Feb 14, 6:37 p.m.

    Publix is much like Harris Teeter.

    They have some very high end stores and some older smaller stores just like Harris Teeter.

  • ConservativeVoter Feb 14, 6:35 p.m.

    Greed at it again.

    We're not for sale but if someone offers us enough they can buy us.

  • superman Feb 14, 4:40 p.m.

    I usually go to the store to buy food etc. Not too concerned about their light fixtures. More concerned about their prices. You ever been to Sam's? Been there and they are always full of customers. So there are some people who really dont care about being in a "fashionable" store. Just forget the frills and give me low prices. Food Lion may not be fancy but I do like their prices.

  • DawgDue Feb 14, 4:16 p.m.

    "Have you been in a Publix? Upscale? I think not. They are almost as ugly as Food Lion. Almost."

    Absolutely have... Washington Rd. in Augusta, GA next Augusta National, on Ben Sawyer in Mt. Pleasant, SC and Central Blvd, Downtown Orlando, FL. Without a doubt the two nicest grocery stores that I have ever stepped foot into.

    Your comparison is skewed b/c just as their are good Harris Teeter's in this area, say Olde Raleigh and Cameron Village, there are some VERY outdated ones, ie the Western Blvd/Buck Jones/Jones Franklin.

    Any older established chain, is going to have smaller, out of date, and maybe not as nice stores. No matter who it is. Compare Walmart on Glenwood to one of the newer ones, like Garner or Brier Creek. No comparison. Catch the drift.

    Publix wouldn't come in here and do a makeshift job of filling a void, they'd come in here to blow the competition out of the water.

  • excalibur810 Feb 14, 4:07 p.m.

    yes, but giant is union controlled...i don't think that harry teeter is...

  • Uhavenoclu Feb 14, 3:39 p.m.

    Harrie Teeter is a carbon coyp of Giant and Giant Eagle stores.If they sold to Giant they would have to do much remodeling and Giant has gluten free sections and nice deli and produce.
    And for all the high class folk..It is very clean and upscale for y'all.

  • GarnerDoug Feb 14, 3:28 p.m.

    Teeter's non-sale/special prices may be a little or moderately higher than local competitors, and they take their gamble with coupons and specials that you buy more........but HT's niche is quality product and service. NOT the poor produce or meats of Food Lion, not the indifferent product and service of the unionized Kroger, not the cattle call of maybe low prices but marginal quality and poor service of Mal-Wart. If you can afford to do all your shopping at Teeter, God bless you. If you shop the sales or need some supplemental thing, that's why Teeter's there. QUALITY! Don't want Publix (BAD produce!), don't want more union Kroger, don't want the transplants' favorite store East Giblip. Why are the little and big things of this great state going of the way of transportation trends? Sigh. HT's # 1-800-432-6111.

  • sunshine1040 Feb 14, 3:03 p.m.

    They could sell to PUBLIX. A chain that actually cares about its customers no cards to track your purchases clean wide aisles and the brands you know and have tried

  • cghsmom Feb 14, 2:43 p.m.

    I love Harris Teeter and hope they do not sell. Yes, they are sometimes more expensive than most of the other chain stores, so I always try to use coupons and hit the sales, but the stores are much cleaner, better stocked, more friendly, and have higher quality meats and produce than the other stores.You pay for what you get. Even Kroger can not compete with Harris Teeter. Like their ads, my Harris Teeter is "My Harris Teeter". Please do not sell!!!!

  • jamesgirl Feb 14, 2:35 p.m.

    So many people are using the term "Upscale". I've always considered the HT just that. I always knew they would be clean, have a great deli, but unfortunately have UPSCALE prices. Time are hard in this economy. I'm not going to buy from them what I know I can't $1.50-$2.00 cheaper. HT is overpriced. I only shop there for specials in their ad with an additional coupon if it beat out another store everyday prices.

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