— Australia will join a consortium of major retailers including Kmart and Woolworths in a bid to acquire St. Pete’s flagship supermarket, which is in the midst of a multi-million dollar turnaround.
The group is also eyeing other retail brands including Walmart, the world’s largest consumer goods retailer, and J.C. Penney, which has a presence in St. Paul.
Kmart, which also has a footprint in St Petersburg, is a major buyer of St.
The acquisition would help the nation’s second-largest city, with about 6 million residents, improve its food safety record and help boost its tourism, Kmart President John Sorenson said Thursday.
“It’s a great deal for St. Petersburg and a great opportunity for our customers,” he said.
A Kmart spokesman said the company plans to keep a close eye on the Kroger deal.
Kroger is the largest U.S. grocery retailer and the second-biggest foreign company.
St. Petersburg is planning to shut down stores in 2020, which would require it to cut more than $1 billion in spending, according to Sorensson.
But Kroger has said the plan will be completed by 2021.
As a result, Kroger will buy the St.
Peter’s assets, including the building, retail and restaurants, as well as its portfolio of stores and franchisees.
The deal would give Kroger a large stake in the city, and it would be in direct competition with Kmart, Woolworth and Walmart, which have all announced plans to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs in St., Petersburg.
In a statement, St. Peter’s said it will continue to work with KMart, Woolies and Walmart to secure an agreement for its acquisition of the St Petersburg supermarket.
This is an exciting time for St Petersburg, as Kroger and the St Peter’s team have been engaged in discussions for some time, the statement said.
“We will continue working with our stakeholders to deliver the best possible store for our shoppers and continue to provide a solid, quality store experience to our customers.”
Kelvin, the U.K.-based retailer, is one of three grocery companies in the consortium.
Walmart is one group that is participating.