The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) yesterday announced it has reached an agreement to purchase 15 Harris Teeter supermarkets located primarily in Atlanta. Both companies expect to complete the transaction, which is subject to certain customary conditions, within 30 days.

Fourteen of the Harris Teeter stores, including one currently under construction, that Kroger has agreed to purchase are located in Atlanta, which ranks as the eighth-largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the nation. Kroger also plans to purchase one Harris Teeter store in Athens, Georgia. The stores will become part of Kroger's Atlanta Division, which currently operates 107 stores in metropolitan Atlanta and three stores in Athens.

"These stores will provide new growth opportunities for Kroger as we expand our business in metro Atlanta," said Bruce Lucia, president of Kroger's Atlanta Division. "We look forward to welcoming the associates of these Harris Teeter stores to the Kroger family. We intend to meet with these associates soon to discuss career opportunities."

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kroger is one of the nation's largest retail grocery chains. At the end of fiscal 2000, the Company operated 2,354 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under nearly two dozen banners, including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Smith's, King Soopers, Dillon, Fry's, City Market, Food 4 Less and Quality Food Centers. Kroger also operates 789 convenience stores, 398 fine jewelry stores, 77 supermarket fuel centers and 42 food processing plants.

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to the Company. These statements are based on management's assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it. We assume no obligation to update the information contained herein. These forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements including, but not limited to, the failure to satisfy conditions to closing the transaction as set forth in the definitive documentation and other factors affecting the businesses of the Company which are described in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.