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H-E-B Buys Five Albertson's Stores in Central Texas.

Regional retailer H.E. Butt Grocery Co. (H-E-B) is gaining ground in central Texas, thanks to an acquisition of five Albertson's locations, reports Progressive Grocer.

The deal includes one store in Round Rock (on Gattis School Road); three Austin-area units located on Research Boulevard, South Pleasant Valley Road, and Highway 290 West; and a store in West Lake on Capital of Texas Highway.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

H-E-B said the acquisition would make it possible for the chain to keep up with the region's rapid growth by quickly adding stores in strategic locations such as northwest Austin and eastern Williamson County, two areas that have seen their populations explode in recent years.

It also marks H-E-B's first foray into West Lake Hills, a move that residents of the area have been requesting for many years, according to the retailer.

"Central Texas is growing fast and this is part of our long-term plan to keep up with that growth," said Jeff Thomas, H-E-B SVP and general manager of the Central Texas region, in a statement. "We've been wanting to serve these neighborhoods for a long time."

Albertson's is expected to close the stores in early November. H-E-B said it will reopen the Round Rock store and the Research Boulevard store by early December, and the West Lake location in February 2008. The other two stores will not reopen because of how close they are to existing H-E-B stores.

"The Albertson's store on South Pleasant Valley Road will play a role in our plan to rebuild the nearby Riverside Drive H-E-B as we continue to invest in serving that neighborhood," Thomas said. "We do not yet have a long-term plan for the property at the Y in Oak Hill."

H-E-B said it plans to double the staff size at each of the new stores. The company will immediately hold several internal job fairs for Albertson's employees.

The retailer also said customers can expect low prices in its new stores.

The acquisition brings H-E-B's Austin and Round Rock locations to 45. In total, H-E-B serves millions of customers in more than 150 communities throughout Texas and Mexico.

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Publication:Gourmet Retailer
Date:Sep 14, 2007
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