Last updated: August 25. 2013 9:00AM - 479 Views

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LIMA — The president of Chief Super Market stores in the Lima region said she is hoping its customers will see added savings now that Spartan Stores Inc. and Nash Finch Co. have merged.

Spartan recently became a new distributor for Chief, supplying it with grocery, dairy, frozen food and other general items. Nash Finch has been a longtime supplier of meat and deli items for the local grocer.

“Both of these companies are solid, and my hope is the increased buying power of the new company will result in savings being passed on to consumers,” said Stephanie Skylar, president and CEO of Chief Super Markets.

The merger is the latest consolidation in the grocery industry as retailers ranging from dollar stores to larger chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. compete by offering similar products.

Kroger Co, the largest U.S. grocery chain, bought regional grocer Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc in a $2.5 billion deal this month.

Spartan’s distribution presence now spreads beyond Michigan, Indiana and Ohio to 37 states and the District of Columbia, Reuters News Service reported. The merger also makes Spartan the largest food distributor to U.S. military commissaries and exchanges at home and abroad.

“By teaming up with Nash Finch they get the military business plus a much wider footprint to grow both the distribution and the retail businesses,” Wolfe Trahan & Co. analyst Scott Mushkin told Reuters.

Military commissaries sell groceries and household goods to personnel and retirees at cheaper prices. Exchanges are retail stores operating on military installations and also include other services such as barbershops and fast-food outlets.

“The combined company can reach any commissary, any exchange location, anywhere in the world,” Nash Finch Chief Executive Alec Covington said on a conference call with analysts.

Nash Finch posted total revenue of $4.82 billion in 2012, about half of which came from sales to military businesses.

Chief Super Markets Inc. is a family-owned, regional supermarket chain with headquarters in Defiance. The company operates 11 stores in nine communities in northwest and west central Ohio. They are Lima, Delphos, Celina, Coldwater, Paulding, Defiance, Bryan, Napoleon and Wauseon.

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