NORFOLK - Hampton Roads grocery shoppers wonder what will happen when Kroger and Harris Teeter merge.

Kroger is buying Harris Teeter's 212 stores, which includes those in Hampton Roads, North Carolina and other southeastern and mid-Atlantic markets.

In a news release Tuesday, the companies said Harris Teeter will continue to operate its stores as a subsidiary, there are no plans to close stores, and workers will continue to have employment opportunities with both companies.

In a news release, H-T's Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Thomas W. Dickson stated, 'As part of Kroger, Harris Teeter will be well equipped to continue to provide our customers outstanding quality and customer service as well as excellent value in an increasingly competitive market.'

Kroger's headquarters will remain in Cincinnati and Harris Teeter will keep its headquarters in Matthews, NC.

When approved, the company will operate 2,631 supermarkets and employ over 368,300 associates across 34 states and the District of Columbia.

'We are excited to welcome Harris Teeter to the Kroger family,' said David B. Dillon, Kroger's chairman and chief executive officer.

There was no specific date given for the merger to be completed other than it has to be approved by Harris Teeter shareholders and regulators. Kroger will purchase all outstanding shares of Harris Teeter for $49.38 per share in cash.

People are talking about the merger on the WVEC13 Facebook page. Michele Anne Arsenault wrote, 'Will only be happy if Harris Teeter stays operating the same way & providing the same quality & type of inventory with the fantastic VIC specials!'

Diane Eno added, 'As long as HT keeps the same quality they have now. Not a huge Kroger fan.'

Melissa Lambert Butcher said she's not a Harris-Teeter fan. 'Everything is overpriced. Use to shop there for years, but then discovered Kroger and have never looked back.'

Eleanor Richards had this perspective. 'In Lynchburg, a Kroger replaces an HT years ago, and the store basically stayed the same. So, it might not be that bad for HT customers.'

Steven Mobley's post echoed many others - 'Hope they don't end the double coupons as Kroger has done!!'

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