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Piggly Wiggly Selling Stores

Th-th-th-that's all folks: Charleston-based grocer selling 29 stores across S.C. and Georgia.

In many communities across South Carolina and Georgia, the Piggly Wiggly brand will soon be no more.

The Charleston-based retailer on Thursday announced plans to sell 29 Piggly Wiggly stores to Bi-Lo and Harris Teeter. In statement, the company said a recent wave of grocery store mergers and acquisitions created the perfect time to sell.

"The environment that has heated up dramatically in the past six months in the grocery industry with mergers and acquisitions created an opportunity for us to ensure the value of our employee-owned company,” Piggly Wiggly spokesman Christopher Ibsen told the Post and Courier

The Pig will sell six locations, plus the store under construction on Isle of Palms, to Harris Teeter. Twenty two other stores will be sold to Greenville-based BI-LO.

Here are the Charleston-area stores impacted by the sales:

Sold to Harris Teeter
#10 Mt. Pleasant, SC 1220 Ben Sawyer Blvd.
#14 James Island, SC1739 Maybank Hwy.
#17 Folly Beach, SC1985 Folly Rd.
#26 James Island, SC 1005 Harborview Rd.
#42 Mt. Pleasant, SC 1981 Riviera Dr
#140 Johns Island, SCNewton Farms130 Gardeners Cir
Isle of Palms (Under Construction), 1505 Palm Blvd.

Sold to BI-LO
#1 Charleston, SC 445 Meeting St.
#8 Charleston, SC 630 Skylark Dr.
#20 Pawleys Island, SC 115 Willbrook Blvd.
#41 Ladson, SC 9616 Hwy. 78
#73 Edisto Beach, SC 104 Jungle Rd.
#103 Johns Island, SC3575 Maybank Hwy.

Piggly Wiggly did not disclose the sale price, but said the stores will rapidly transition to their new brands over the next few months. Current employees will be offered positions with the new owners.

"The departure of employees and stores from the Piggly Wiggly team will be acutely felt, but we know that both Harris Teeter and Bi-Lo will benefit from these outstanding folks," said David Schools, president and CEO of Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company. “We are glad that all store employees affected by this transaction will have the opportunity to work for Harris Teeter and BI-LO."

The sales are part of a wave of recent consolidations in the grocery store business. In December 2011, BI-LO and Winn-Dixie merged operations. In July, Kroger announced it would purchase Harris Teeter. And earlier this year, BI-LO also announced plans to buy Harvey's and Food Lion.

Over the last decade, grocers have seen their market share evaporate as Walmart entered the grocery store business. A wave of store closures and bankruptcies have swept the industry in recent years.

Founded in 1947, Piggly Wiggly is one of the South's most storied brands. Before the sales announced on Thursday, The Pig operated 100 supermarkets with roughly 3,000 employees across South Carolina and Coastal Georgia.
JoSCh September 13, 2013 at 09:27 AM
Damnit, I just bailed on HT for Piggly Wiggly since HT was recently bought by Kroger. It's just a matter of time before there is only Kroger and Walmart... Local since... oh, never mind.
Casual observer September 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM
The Pig was doomed, similar to Food Lion, when Walmart started retailing food in the local stores. The other area food stores use Walmart as a base price and then position their sales prices at some level higher, further adjusted for available coupons and special promotions. The Pig didn't adjust to that form of retailing and lacked the ability to attract and retain customers to its brand. Lastly, in a health conscious area, the name connotes an obese shopper, and was not for shore communities a positive image. In my opinion the brand name is a negative and could be changed.
Patch.com September 13, 2013 at 08:44 PM
I think you're right @Casual Observer. In the grocery biz, you have to be more than affordable. Walmart is the affordable, no frills grocery store and no one can compete. Publix has a niche because it's always clean, well-lit and has good store brands. Harris Teeter offers unique, high-end products. Food Lion and Winn Dixie were the low-cost grocers, and Walmart just crushed them when they failed to find their place in the market. The Pig is trying the "local" thing, but I grew up only having a Piggly Wiggly in my small hometown (it's now going to be a BI-LO), and I never really wanted to go back. The Pig, despite being a local company, just offers a depressing Kmart-esque vibe.
Chad Creamer September 13, 2013 at 11:01 PM
The Pig was my first job in the early 90s and that was stores that opened in the 70s and 80s. I agree with the Kmart vibe, you have to invest in your stores and they did a poor job of doing that. Hopefully the new owners will spend the money updating as most of the stores look horrible and need to be updates.
lowcountry native September 21, 2013 at 08:12 PM
I really loved piggly wiggly and never minded the fact that maybe it didn't have as great of marketing ploys as Whole Foods or Walmart. I can remember fond memories of shopping there with my mother as a young child and picking up their delicous mac'n cheese and fried chicken on a sunday afternoon. I also know many people out of state who reminisce family vacations down to the beach and getting that moment of sheer excitement when they would see Piggly Wiggly stores telling them that they had arrived at the lowcountry. Piggly Wiggly really characterizes the way Charleston is. Or maybe I should say was. It will be a sad day when the Piggly Wiggly brand is no more and shopping at Super Walmart will be a cultural norm. Seeing as though that the Piggly Wiggly on coleman will be no more I am invisioning Coleman moving much closer to what so many developer's are striving to make it become. If not clear I am not a fan of what many have instore for Coleman's future look and stand with many others with the same opinion. With Southern Season now opening on Coleman and the new building across the street I believe it has marked a new time in Mt. Pleasant and I wish my town the best for future years to come.

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