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United Natural Foods sells 13 Shoppers stores to 3 separate buyers

United Natural Foods Inc. has agreed to sell 13 of its 43 Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores to three different grocery operators, according to a Dec. 6 release.

The Rhode Island-based organic grocer, which owns SuperValu Inc., did not disclose the buyers, nor the financial terms of the transactions.

United Natural Foods, or UNFI, said the deals are expected to close between mid-December and Feb. 29, 2020, subject to customary closing conditions.

Shoppers will wind down operations at the three locations and sell any remaining inventory before the new owners reopen the stores under their own banners. Shoppers will continue as the main supplier of the sold locations.

The group added that it will also close four additional Shoppers sites by the end of January 2020 after UNFI decided not to renew the lease at three of the sites, while the remaining one is about to be canceled pursuant to the store's deal with the landlord.

"Today's announcement reflects progress on our commitment to reduce UNFI's retail footprint and marks another step toward transforming UNFI into North America's premier food wholesaler," UNFI Chairman and CEO Steven Spinner said in a statement.

The decision comes after UNFI decided to sell 30 pharmacies under the Shoppers brand. The company sold the prescriptions and pharmacy inventories to bigger rivals CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

The Food Partners LLC served as the group's adviser on the transactions.

UNFI's stock closed up 2.86% to $9.70 on Dec. 6.