Pig starts going dark Most sites bought by Harris Teeter could begin switch this weekend

The Piggly Wiggly in James Island Shopping Center was the first to be closed under a seven-store sale to Harris Teeter. The supermarket will be renovated and reopened as a Harris Teeter.

The bulk of the grocery stores that Harris Teeter is buying from Piggly Wiggly will begin closing as early as Saturday and continue to go dark over the next week or so before reopening under the buyer’s brand name.

Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter is purchasing seven Piggly Wiggly supermarkets in the Charleston area in a deal announced last month.

Sales of 30 percent to 50 percent off of perishables and store-brand merchandise started last week and will continue until each store’s closing.

One supermarket that’s changing hands in the deal, at James Island Shopping Center near Maybank Highway and Folly Road, already has been shut down. It will be closed for several months for a total overhaul.

Five others will be closed from four to seven days before reopening as Harris Teeter supermarkets. A seventh future store Harris Teeter is buying from Piggly Wiggly is being built on the Isle of Palms.

Harris Teeter spokeswoman Danna Jones said the closing and reopening schedule could be tweaked as management reviews plans for each site.

In a major retrenchment, Charleston-based Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. announced plans last month to slim down, citing in part brutal competition from larger rivals with deeper pockets.

The longtime local chain also is selling 22 other stores in South Carolina and coastal Georgia for about $35 million to Bi-Lo, part of Bi-Lo Holdings of Jacksonville, Fla.

Closeout sales have not begun at those stores.

A Bi-Lo spokeswoman said no definite dates have been announced for the changeover because the purchase hasn’t been finalized.

“The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter,” said Bi-Lo spokeswoman Kelly Bell.

More details will be released as the deal moves closer to completion, Bell added.

The Bi-Lo deal includes five Piggly Wiggly stores in the Charleston area.

When the changeovers are completed, Piggly Wiggly will have four company-owned supermarkets in the Charleston area: Hollywood, Moncks Corner, North Charleston and St. George. It also will continue to operate the Price Wise Foods in Hanahan. Piggly Wiggly also serves two independently owned Mr. K’s in Summerville.

The chain is closing two other local stores. The last day of business for Northbridge Pig in West Ashley and the Festival Centre store in North Charleston is Oct. 19.

A Piggly Wiggly spokesman did not return a call or email for comment Tuesday.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.