- Harps Food Stores has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire 20 stores from Missouri-based Town and Country Grocers, according to a company press release.
- Five of the stores are located in northeastern Arkansas and the remaining 15 are in southeastern Missouri. They would add to Harps’ existing 92 stores, which are located in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.
- The transaction is still subject to approval by Town and Country Grocers’ shareholders, but is expected to be completed this summer. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The addition of 20 stores is a show of strength for Arkansas-based Harps, and promise to bolster its position against mass retailers and traditional supermarket chains.
Neither company indicated how business is currently faring for Town and Country, which operates several banners including Town & Country Supermarket, Cash Saver, Price Chopper and Country Mart. There are 35 locations listed on Town and Country's website, indicating it will retain control of 15 stores.
Town and Country Grocers, which is also employee-owned, is a fitting acquisition for Harps. The companies' stores span similar geographies. They also share a common distributor, Associated Wholesale Grocers.
Harps operates squarely in Walmart territory, with the two companies’ headquarters situated within miles of each other. President and CEO Kim Eskew has noted Walmart’s presence is a powerful one. While the family-founded grocery company isn’t trying to compete on the same scale as Walmart, it is still working to boost its services and expand its footprint.
In 2016, Harps acquired nine Walmart Express stores, which the grocer either sold or converted to Harps Food Stores.
Harps has made recent moves to enhance its e-commerce operations. The grocer works with Instacart to power grocery delivery and pickup, and also recently announced plans to deploy artificial intelligence to improve customer engagement.