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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

LAKELAND, FL-Publix Super Markets Inc. says it has an agreement with Boise, ID-based Albertson’s LLC to buy 49 of its stores throughout Florida. The acquisition, for which the price is not being disclosed, adds slightly more market share to Publix’s grocery dominance within the Sunshine State.

Once the transaction closes in September, Publix will add 15 locations in North Florida, 30 in Central Florida and four in South Florida. The deal gives Publix a new market in Escambia County, where Albertson’s has four stores.

Lakeland-based Publix, which has focused on expansion into other Southeastern markets in recent years, commands a 40% market share among grocery chains operating within Florida with 646 stores, according to International Council of Shopping Centers statistics attributed to the Shelby Report. Albertson’s ranks fourth in the state, behind Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie, with 4.7% market share and 94 stores.

Albertson’s says it plans to continue operating its remaining Florida stores, along with a distribution center in Plant City and a division office in Lake Mary. Meanwhile, possible consolidation of Albertson’s and Publix stores within proximity in neighborhoods will be determined during due diligence over the summer, says a spokeswoman at Publix’s Lakeland headquarters.

“The demand for the high-quality service our associate owners provide gives us the opportunity to reinvest in these communities by acquiring additional sites for Publix stores,” Ed Crenshaw, the company’s CEO, stated in a release. “We continue to focus on being the premier food retailer in the areas in which we operate.”

Opening dates for converted Albertson’s stores will depend on the scope of remodeling required to convert them to Publix locations. Publix is encouraging employees at affected Albertson’s stores to apply for jobs with the company and will host exclusive job fairs for those workers in coming weeks.

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