Harris Teeter Supermarkets has declined to comment on reports it is exploring strategic options including the possibility of a sale.

The US supermarket group is understood to have appointed JP Morgan as an advisor, sources told Reuters yesterday (12 February). Grocery chains such as Kroger, Publix Super Markets and Ahold are likely suitors, the sources said.

A spokesperson for Harris Teeter, however, declined to comment when contacted by just food. She said: "Harris Teeter, as a matter of policy, does not comment on rumours regarding mergers and acquisitions."

Last week, the retailer reported higher underlying sales for its fiscal first quarter in a set of mixed financial results. The company saw comparable-store sales increase 2.5%. However, costs related to starting up ten stores bought from Lowe's hit operating profit, which fell 12.5%.