Regional US retailer Harris Teeter has confirmed it is exploring a possible sale of the company.

The supermarket chain early this week declined to comment on reports it was exploring strategic options including the possibility of a sale.

However, in a statement released yesterday, the firm confirmed it has retained JP Morgan to “assist” in discussions with certain parties regarding strategic alternatives.

Harris Teeter said it was approached by two private-equity firms that had expressed an interest in purchasing the company.

“In order to fulfill its duty to its shareholders to evaluate opportunities to increase shareholder value, the company retained JP Morgan to assist it in conducting discussions with certain highly qualified parties.”

The retailer said it intends to continue its “strategic new store growth plan” and maintain the employment of its associates across its facilities.

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“There can be no assurance that these discussions will result in any transaction. If a transaction were entered into, there can be no assurance as to the price, timing or other terms of such transaction. The company does not plan to provide any additional information until such discussions are concluded,” it said.

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%.