"Fiesta looks for a high-concentration Hispanic demographic fortheir grocery stores and Carnival is similar," says Lyle Cowand,senior vice president in Houston for Dallas-based Weitzman Group."In areas in which Fiesta isn't a player, such as Dallas, Carnivalis strong, which will give Fiesta greater market penetration. I seeit as a pretty smart move."

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According to a press release about the transaction, GrocersSupply will acquire 23 Carnival supermarkets, five Minyard stores,five fuel centers and nine Sack 'n Save warehouse stores from theCoppell, TX-based Minyard Food Stores. Telephone calls to GrocersSupply and Fiesta were not returned by deadline.

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Grocers Supply plans to let 11 stores roll to the 50-storeFiesta Mart and flip most of the balance to other retailers in itssupply chain, according to the release. The acquisition is expectedto close by the end of this year.

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Cowand tells GlobeSt.com that Fiesta is a well-known brand inHouston, but not so much in other areas of Texas. This is where theCarnival brand name can provide a distinct advantage for Fiesta, hepoints out, citing Dallas in particular. Fiesta has 15 stores inDallas-Fort Worth.

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Cowand says he'd be surprised if any stores changed names afterthe deal closes. "It makes no sense for Fiesta to change its namehere in Houston. It's a main institution here," he says. By thesame token, Carnival has recognition in the Dallas market. "GrocersSupply has a number of concepts they control and you don't see namechanges on any of those," Cowand adds.

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In the release, Minyard's management says Grocers Supply'sdecision is an affirmation of its strategic focus on the burgeoningLatino food market. Minyard will have 21 stores left after thesale. "This agreement will allow us to sharpen our focus andresources on the Minyard banner," says Michael D. Byars, presidentand CEO of the 78-year-old company.

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