Salt Lake City-based Smith's Food & Drug Centers Inc. said it will sell or lease seven of its Southern California stores, including three in Orange County, to American Stores Properties Inc.
Smith's closed the stores in January, abandoning the Southern California market in the face of stiff competition from more established competitors like Lucky Stores and Ralphs Grocery. American Stores, also based in Salt Lake City, owns the Lucky chain.
American Stores will buy or lease Smith's stores in Garden Grove, Mission Viejo, Stanton, Paramount, Fontana, Arleta and Santa Maria. The deal must be approved by the Federal Trade Commission and state Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren.
Smith's has sold or leased 16 California stores to various supermarket companies and closed 18 stores in the state. Smith's subleased its regional distribution center to Ralphs Grocery Co. in 1995.