Jitney won’t sell Vidalia store now

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 31, 2000

AP and staff reports

Jackson-based Jitney Jungle Stores of America, which once owned 200 stores in the Southeast, agreed Monday to sell 89 grocery stores to Bruno’s Supermarkets and Winn-Dixie Stores.

Jitney’s Sack ‘n’ Save grocery store in Vidalia, La., will not be included in the sale, although bids could be taken for the store in the future, according to company officials.

Email newsletter signup

Both deals must be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Eastern Louisiana in New Orleans and should be completed by January, said Jitney Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson.

Jitney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 1999 after rising debts and costs outstripped revenues. Since then, it has closed or sold more than 60 stores, most of them in or near large cities.

Winn-Dixie will buy 72 Jitney grocery stores, 32 gas stations and two liquor stores for $85 million. The stores have annual revenue of $650 million.

Fifty-five of the grocery stores are in Mississippi, 11 in Alabama and two in Louisiana. Winn-Dixie will operate most of the stores under the Jitney name. Winn-Dixie operates more than 1,000 stores in 14 states.

Birmingham, Ala.-based Bruno’s will acquire 17 Jitney grocery stores, 15 of which operate under the Delchamps name. The company is also buying three liquor stores and two gas stations. The cost of the stores is $9 million.

Bruno’s already owns and operates 153 supermarkets in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.

The sale will leave Jitney Jungle with fewer than 50 grocery stores, four liquor stores and eight gas stations. Johnson said the company is looking at all options for its remaining stores.