Aldi buying Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie, Harveys Supermarkets

Nearly a century after W.M. Davis and his sons opened a grocery store in Miami and 84 years after moving its headquarters to Jacksonville, Winn-Dixie is being acquired by Aldi.

In an announcement Wednesday morning, Aldi said that it would acquire Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarkets from Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers in a move to expand the Batavia, Illinois-based company’s presence in the Southeast.

The deal includes nearly 400 Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket stores across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, Aldi said in a news release.

"Like ALDI, Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket have long histories and many loyal customers in the Southeast and we look forward to serving them in the years to come," said Jason Hart, CEO, ALDI. "The time was right to build on our growth momentum and help residents in the Southeast save on their grocery bills. The transaction supports our long-term growth strategy across the United States, including plans to add 120 new stores nationwide this year to reach a total of more than 2,400 stores by year-end."

Soutwest Florida Winn-Dixie and Aldi stores

In Southwest Florida, Winn-Dixie operates 10 stores: four in Fort Myers, one in Immokalee, one in Lehigh Acres, two in Naples, one on Pine Island in St. James City and one on Marco Island. Aldi operates 210 stores in Florida, according to its website. Of those, 14 are in Southwest Florida including four in Naples, four in Cape Coral, four in Fort Myers, one in Lehigh Acres and one in Estero.

Barbara Shurina, a 19-year resident of Marco Island, was shopping at the Marco Island store Wednesday when she heard the merger news. "Wow," she said, asking whether Aldi will change all Winn-Dixies to Aldi stores. "This is huge for an Aldi."

According to Aldi’s Hart, some Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarkets stores will be converted into the Aldi format. But "for those stores we do not convert, our intention is that these continue to operate as Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket stores."

The average size of a Winn-Dixie store is 47,640 square feet, according to Aldi store size is 17,825-18,000 square feet, according to Aldi's website.

Shurina, who lives on Marco Island year-round, also wondered whether any transformation will be completed by the start of tourist season. "I would think with all the competition (two Publix on Marco), they are going to come in like a bull." Her advice to locals, "Give it a chance."

Southeastern Grocers, then known as Bi-Lo, acquired Winn-Dixie in 2011 for $560 million.

"This merger agreement is a testament to our successful transformational journey and the tireless work of our dedicated associates who serve our communities," said Anthony Hucker, President and CEO, Southeastern Grocers. "ALDI shares our vision to provide exceptional quality, service and value - and this unique opportunity will evolve our business to benefit our customers, associates and neighbors throughout the Southeast."

The value of the deal was not immediately available.

Aldi first entered the Northeast Florida market in 2015 with a store at 9041 Southside Blvd. Since then, Aldi has opened several stores in the area, including eight in Jacksonville and one each in Orange Park, Middleburg, Yulee, St. Johns and St. Augustine.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2024, subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, Aldi said.

Naples Daily News / The News-Press reporter J. Kyle Foster contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Aldi acquiring Winn-Dixie, Harveys Supermarkets from Southeastern Grocers