US grocery retailer Spartan Stores has announced it is to close 13 of its 39 Food Town grocery stores in northwest Ohio.

Spartan has had difficulty making the Food Town chain profitable since buying the stores in 2000.

In February, Spartan reported a third-quarter loss of US$57m, having also reported losses in the previous two quarters.

Spartan Stores chairman James B. Meyer said the closings were a last resort.

"We regret having to make this difficult decision, but it is necessary to help expedite the process of returning our retail operations to profitability," Meyer was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.