Kroger Co., owner of Turkey Hill Minit Markets and four other convenience store chains, said Wednesday it is exploring the sale of all five chains.
Explaining that convenience stores now are fetching premium prices, “we feel it is our obligation as a management team to undertake this review,” Chief Financial Officer Mike Schlotman said in a statement.
Kroger said its decision to look at its “strategic alternatives … including a potential sale” of the division, follows an internal study that concluded its convenience stores might be more valuable to an outsider than they are to Kroger.
The convenience store portfolio consists of 784 stores, generating $1.4 billion in annual revenue (excluding gasoline sales) and employing 11,000 people in 18 states.
Besides Turkey Hill, other chains in the Kroger division are Tom Thumb, Loaf ‘N Jug, QuickStop and KwikShop.
Lancaster-based Turkey Hill is the biggest convenience-store operator in Lancaster County, with 61 stores here, LNP reported in April.
From its first store in 1967 on Columbia Avenue, since closed, it now operates more than 260 locations in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
A Turkey Hill spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment on the impact of a potential sale.
Cincinnati-based Kroger, which also is the biggest player in the supermarket industry, said its convenience stores are in robust health. Same-store sales have increased for 62 straight quarters.
“Our convenience stores are strong, successful and growing with the potential to grow even more,” said Schlotman.
Kroger noted the possible sale of its convenience stores does not include Turkey Hill Dairy, a separate company based here that’s also owned by Kroger. Both the Turkey Hill dairy and the convenience stores were acquired by Kroger in 1985.