US grocer Fleming said it has received several offers for most of its 110-store retail supermarket operations and expects to gain at least US$450m after taxes.

Company officials told analysts yesterday [Wednesday] that most of the Rainbow chain in Minnesota will be sold to a single, as yet undisclosed, buyer, while other stores with the Rainbow and Food 4 Less fascia will be sold piecemeal to regional and independent supermarket operators. The sale will include 13 Wisconsin supermarkets, reported the Duluth News-Tribune.

The proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down debts, standing at $2.2bn at 13 July.

Meanwhile, ratings agency Standard & Poor's yesterday said it lowered Fleming's credit rating one notch, to BB-minus, and said it would continue to review the rating to see if it should be lowered further.