BI-LO (United States)

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IndustryGrocery store
Founded1961 (58 years ago) (1961)
HeadquartersJacksonville, Florida, United States
Number of locations
Area served
Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina
Key people
Chase Bishop (President and CEO)
ProductsBakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, general grocery, meat, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor
Number of employees
About 13,000
ParentSoutheastern Grocers

BI-LO is a supermarket chain owned by Southeastern Grocers. As of October 2015, the company operates 164 supermarkets under the BI-LO brand in South Carolina (123 stores), North Carolina (24 stores) and Georgia (17 stores). [1] The BI-LO headquarters were previously located in Mauldin, South Carolina, near Greenville.;[2][3] however, they merged into Southeastern Grocers headquarters which is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, United States currently.


In 1961, Frank Outlaw, a former Winn-Dixie executive, bought four Greenville, S.C. grocery stores from the chain Wrenn and Syracuse, to create the Wrenn & Outlaw chain. The company was officially named BI-LO in 1963 after Outlaw conducted an employee store-naming contest to develop the "brand." His secretary, Edna Plumblee, won the contest by submitting the name "BI-LO."

Store front BL.png

BI-LO was sold to Ahold, a Dutch retail food conglomerate, in 1977. In 1994, Ahold purchased Red Food Stores, Inc. and merged its locations (around 55 of them) in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee into BI-LO the following year.[4][5] In 2001, Ahold purchased the Birmingham, Alabama based Bruno's Supermarkets chain and combined its operations with BI-LO.

In 1998, the company sponsored the construction of the Bon Secours Wellness Arena (formerly the BI-LO Center) in Greenville, South Carolina.

In June 2001, BI-LO debuted their discount grocery format, FoodSmart in Camden, South Carolina. A month later, BI-LO purchased eight Harris Teeter grocery stores in South Carolina and converted those stores to either BI-LO or the FoodSmart formats.[6]

In 2003, BI-LO invested in redesigning its store layout to attract high end customers. The result was the new Super BI-LO concept of a larger store layout featuring a greater selection of healthier foods, specialty foods, and organic foods. Since then the company has opened new Super BI-LO branded stores as well as remodeled older stores in affluent neighborhoods.[7]

In 2005, Ahold sold BI-LO/Bruno's to Lone Star Funds.[8] In order to concentrate on renovating older stores, building new ones, and investing in newer information technology, the new owners sold off 104 BI-LO, FoodSmart, Bruno's, Food Fair, and Food World stores in areas where the chain did not have significant market penetration. They also sold off three BI-LO/Bruno's distribution centers to grocery wholesaler, C&S Wholesale Grocers who converted some of the stores to Southern Family Markets.[9][10] Included in the sell-off were all stores in the Knoxville, TN, area which nearly all were immediately occupied by Food City stores. As of 2010, one location in the area has not been leased to any business in five years, in part due to Food City already owning a former Winn-Dixie location just a short walk away.

On March 21, 2007, Lone Star Funds announced that they were spinning off the 67 Bruno's Supermarkets and Food World stores from BI-LO LLC into a separate company to be based out of Birmingham.[11] On April 16, 2007, Lone Star announced that they were putting the 230-store BI-LO chain up for sale. Soon after, C&S announced that it was closing the Chattanooga distribution center that served the BI-LOs in the Chattanooga area and portions of North Georgia.[12]

On March 23, 2009, the company announced that it had filed chapter 11 bankruptcy with the intent to use the court-supervised process to address "an upcoming debt maturity." The move was largely due to the post-2008 crash and the resultant credit crisis. The company said to expect its stores and regular operations to continue to operate as usual during the process. The company secured a $100 million loan from GE Capital in order to continue paying wages, salaries, benefits, suppliers, and vendors.[13] In October 2009, Delhaize Group, headquartered in Belgium and owner of competing chain Food Lion, announced that it entered a preliminary, non-binding agreement to purchase $425 million worth of assets from the chain.[14] Shortly after, in November 2009, the company filed plans with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to restructure, with parent company Lone Star Funds providing a $350 million cash infusion, and Delhaize Group and Food Lion left out of the plans. Lone Star Funds said that it was possible that BI-LO could emerge from bankruptcy in the first quarter of 2010.[15]

On May 12, 2010, the company officially emerged from bankruptcy protection, under a plan approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of South Carolina.[16] BI-LO, a Supermarket News Top 75 Retailer for 2010, remains under ownership of Lone Star Funds after restructuring.[17][18] BI-LO was reportedly put up for sale in August 2010; Kroger and Publix were said to be interested in acquiring the chain,[19] but they never developed anything from these rumors.

In September 2013, BI-LO agreed to buy 22 Piggly Wiggly stores in South Carolina and Georgia from Piggly Wiggly Carolina. The following day, BI-LO agreed to sell seven BI-LO locations in the Charlotte, North Carolina region to Publix.[20][21]

In July 2015, Southeastern Grocers announced the sale of its 21 BI-LO locations in the Chattanooga market as well as eight BI-LO locations in Northern Georgia to K-VA-T Food Stores, which would rebrand the stores under its Food City banner. The two companies said that stores would begin transitioning August 30 and would be completed by October 5, 2015. Southeastern Grocers was expected to use proceeds from the deal to reduce debt. This sale ended BI-LO's presence in the Tennessee market.[22]

In May 2017, Southeastern Grocers announced the closing of six BI-LO stores in North Carolina and South Carolina as part of a corporate-wide closure of 20 locations along with the elimination of some department lead roles at stores.[23] Later that same month, BI-LO announced the closings of three additional stores in Newton, North Carolina and Florence and Irmo, South Carolina.[24][25][26]

In February 2019, Southeastern Grocers announced plans to shutter 22 locations. This round of closures included 13 BI-LO locations in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.[27]

2018 Bankruptcy[edit]

On March 15, 2018, Southeastern Grocers announced they would file a plan of reorganization under Chapter 11 by the end of March. According to the company, the restructuring would decrease overall debt levels by over $500 million. Under this plan, 22 BI-LO stores would close along with an additional 72 stores across the Harveys, Fresco y Más, and Winn-Dixie brands.[28][29]

On March 28, 2018, Southeastern agreed to sell three BI-LO locations in South Carolina along with three Harveys locations in Georgia to three independent Piggly Wiggly store owners. The deals are in conjunction with the restructuring support agreement revealed by Southeastern Grocers.[30] On April 27, 2018, Food Lion announced plans to acquire four BI-LO locations in Florence, Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, and Columbia, South Carolina.[31] On April 30, 2018, Publix announced they would acquire the lease, fixtures, equipment, permits, and licenses for the Seneca, South Carolina BI-LO location slated to close as part of the original restructuring plan.[32] Two of the BI-LO locations originally closed as part of the bankruptcy reorganization in April 2018, Ladson and Mullins, South Carolina, were acquired by another independent Piggly Wiggly owner and would be reopened in June 2018.[33]

In May 2018, Southeastern Grocers restructuring plan was confirmed by a U.S. Bankruptcy judge in Delaware. At the end of that month, Southeastern Grocers announced that it had completed its financial restructuring and was emerging from bankruptcy. As part of the restructuring, $522 million in debt was exchanged for equity in Southeastern Grocers, though it was not announced who was receiving the equity shares. Southeastern Grocers exited bankruptcy with 575 stores in seven states, down from 704 locations. They also announced a planned remodels of 100 stores in 2018.[34]

Acquisition of Winn-Dixie[edit]

On December 19, 2011 it was announced that BI-LO and Winn-Dixie would merge to create an organization with some 690 grocery stores and 63,000 employees in eight states throughout the southeastern United States.[35] BI-LO will purchase Winn-Dixie for $530 million, and operate Winn-Dixie as a subsidiary with its stores maintaining the Winn-Dixie name. It was later announced that the merged company would be based at Winn-Dixie's former headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida.[36] In early 2013, BI-LO phased out its own private label soft drinks in its BI-LO stores in favor of the "Chek" brand used by Winn-Dixie.


  • "When You BI-LO, You Get More Than Low Prices": prior to 1990
  • "The name fits.": 1990-early 2000s
  • "Because it matters to you.": 2007-2010
  • "Savings without sacrifice.": 2010-2015
  • "Proudly serving the Southeast since 1961.": 2015-present

Private labels[edit]

Throughout late 2004 and 2005, the company gradually phased out its private label "BI-LO" brand for its store products and replaced them with new packaging and a new name, "Southern Home", which began also being offered at Harveys Supermarkets locations after Southeastern Grocers' acquisition of the chain from Delhaize. In the late 2000s, the chain started offering the budget-conscious Clear Value brand on select products, supplied by Topco. Beginning in 2017, the Southern Home banner used for private-label products began to be phased out for a tiered brand entitled SE Grocers, which will be the private label brand used at all Southeastern Grocers owned stores, including Winn-Dixie (whose namesake private label brand is being phased out). Currently, BI-LO offers the following private label products:

SE Grocers Essentials, a budget-priced brand on staple items
SE Grocers a mid-market private label brand equivalent to popular, national brands on everyday items
SE Grocers Naturally Better', a natural, organic, and health conscious brand
SE Grocers Prestige, a higher end line offering more gourmet, exclusive, and health conscious items
Chek, a soda brand
TopCare, the company's health and beauty aid line
Whiskers & Tails, pet food and supplies
Kuddles, baby food, diapers, and everyday items


  1. ^ "Bi-Lo exec: Lower prices will attract more shoppers". The Charlotte Observer. October 28, 2015. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "Contact Us." BI-LO. January 5, 2006. Retrieved on October 5, 2012. "Shipping Address: BI-LO, LLC 208 BI-LO Blvd. Greenville, SC 29607"
  3. ^ "Zoning and Parcels Map." (Archive) City of Mauldin. Retrieved on October 5, 2012.
  4. ^ Ahold to Buy U.S. Chain, The New York Times, February 22, 1994
  5. ^ Ahold in U.S.A. Archived August 31, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, accessed September 10, 2006
  6. ^ Harris Teeter has left Spartanburg, July 7, 2001
  7. ^ BI-LO Invests In Redesign Archived February 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Times Free Press January 25, 2008
  8. ^ Lone Star Funds agrees to buy Bruno's from Ahold, Birmingham Business Journal, December 23, 2004
  9. ^ Bi-Lo closures described as strategy to rebuild grocery firm Archived December 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Augusta Chronicle dated May 5, 2005
  10. ^ Local Bi-Lo store sold to C&S Wholesale, dated May 5, 2005
  11. ^ Execs leave Bi-Lo; Bruno's spun off[permanent dead link], Chattanooga Times Free Press March 21, 2007
  12. ^ Local BI-LO Warehouses Closing Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The Chattanoogan April 16, 2007
  13. ^ "Bi-Lo Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy". March 24, 2009. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  14. ^ Delhaize To Buy $425M Worth Of Assets From BI-LO Archived October 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Bi-Lo plan excludes Food Lion deal". Charlotte Business Journal. November 24, 2009. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  16. ^ "Bi-Lo Emerges From Chapter 11". May 13, 2010. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  17. ^ "Bi-Lo Emerges From Chapter 11". May 13, 2010. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  18. ^ "SN's Top 75 Retailers for 2010". December 15, 2009. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  19. ^ Bi-Lo on the Block: Source, Supermarket News August 10, 2010
  20. ^ "Piggly Wiggly Carolina Sells 28 Stores". September 12, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  21. ^ "Publix to buy seven Bi-Lo stores in Charlotte area". September 13, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  22. ^ "K-VA-T to buy, convert Bi-Lo in Chattanooga". July 23, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  23. ^ "Southeastern confirms 20 store closures; store management restructuring". May 8, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  24. ^ "Bi-Lo closing store on West Palmetto Street in Florence". SCNow Morning News. May 16, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  25. ^ "Bi-Lo to Shut Down Store in Irmo". May 16, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  26. ^ "Newton's BI-LO grocery store announces June closing". May 22, 2017. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  27. ^ "Southeastern Grocers will close 22 stores". February 22, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  28. ^ "Southeastern Grocers initiates financial restructuring". Supermarket News. March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  29. ^ "SEG Reaches Agreement with Key Economic Stakeholders on Terms of Financial Restructuring". Southeastern Grocers. March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  30. ^ "Piggly Wiggly Indie Storeowners Buying 6 Southeastern Grocers Locations". Progressive Grocer. March 28, 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  31. ^ "Food Lion buys Bi-Lo stores in South Carolina". Supermarket News. April 27, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  32. ^ "Publix to Acquire Closing Bi-Lo in South Carolina". Winsight Grocery Business. April 30, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  33. ^ "Two more Piggly Wiggly supermarkets opening in South Carolina". The Post And Courier. June 1, 2018. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  34. ^ "Southeastern Grocers completes bankruptcy reorganization". Jacksonville Daily Record. May 31, 2018. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  35. ^ "Bi‐Lo And Winn‐Dixie Agree To Merge". BI-LO. Archived from the original on January 7, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  36. ^ Egan, Matt (December 19, 2011). "BI-LO Buys Winn-Dixie for $530 Million; Deal Translates to 75% Premium". Fox Business. Retrieved December 19, 2011.

External links[edit]

Companies that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009