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Harris Teeter mum on possible acquisition as sales, profits rise

Matthews-based Harris Teeter said Thursday that its sales and profits rose in the company’s second quarter, but stayed quiet on a possible acquisition of the company by a hedge fund or rival grocer.

The company said its sales rose 4.3 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago, to $1.17 billion. Profits were up more than 8 percent, to $32.9 million. Harris Teeter said it has been focused on managing labor costs to keep expenses down.

Harris Teeter didn’t disclose any new information about the possibility of selling the company. In February, Harris Teeter said that it had hired J.P. Morgan to help it explore its options after two private equity firms expressed interest in buying the upscale grocer.

Analysts have speculated that a strategic rival, such as Florida-based Publix or Dutch grocer Royal Ahold – which owns Giant supermarkets in the U.S. – could buy Harris Teeter.

“We are very pleased with our results for the second quarter,” said chief executive officer Thomas Dickson, in a statement. Harris Teeter’s sales at stores open a year or more – considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health – rose 3.7 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago.

The company operates 211 supermarkets, the bulk of which are in North Carolina.

Portillo: 704-358-5041 On Twitter @ESPortillo
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