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The Associated Press reports that Publix Super Markets "would be interested in looking" at Bi-Lo and Bruno's for possible acquisition from Ahold.

Lee Brunson, a spokesman for Publix, said it was too early to speculate, but noted that both companies could fit into its expansion and growth plans.

Kroger has been mentioned as another potential buyer for the chains, which Ahold announced earlier this month would be divested in its ongoing effort to retire debt in the face of its billion-dollar accounting scandal.

Ahold bought Bruno's in 2001. The company operates 178 stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi and has 14,500 employees. Bi-Lo operates 292 stores in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, with about 27,000 employees.
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