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DETROIT-A dozen or more Farmer Jack stores could soon be for sale or close in southeast Michigan and northern Ohio. The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. said Tuesday it would divest itself of nearly half its 650 grocery stores, including its Farmer Jack and Food Basics operations based in Detroit.

Farmer Jack President Mike Carter said in a statement that his existing 88-store chain would eventually emerge as a separate chain with about 70 stores. Earlier this spring, Farmer Jack announced it was closing nine of its 10 Food Basics stores in the Detroit area and two Farmer Jack stores. The announcement by A&P Tuesday as part of its quarterly earnings statement was more far-reaching than expected.

“We respect A&P’s decision and will work closely with corporate management and its financial advisers to create a new ownership structure for Farmer Jack that will ensure our continued presence and vitality as a leading grocery chain serving the southeasternMichigan market,” Carter said in a statement.

A&P is also going to spin off its Canadian division. “Our decision to focus attention on our core Northeast markets does not afford us the ability to continue our Midwest operations,” said Christian Haub, chairman of the A&P board and CEO. “Accordingly, we decided the best course of actions is to divest our operations in Michigan and Ohio.”

“Farmer Jack has been serving the greater Detroit community for more than 75 years,” Carter said. “We are visited by nearly a million Farmer Jack customers every week, have a strong market presence in our region, and are today the only major Detroit-based grocery chain.”

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