Springdale-based grocery chain Harps Food Stores Inc. has completed a sale-leaseback deal of 13 free-standing grocery stores for $30.1 million.
All of the stores are in Arkansas and Missouri and combined have 459,525 square feet.
New Jersey-based Essential Properties is the new owner. All 13 properties were sold subject to new, long-term net leases with Harps and will continue to operate under Harps-operated brands, including Harps Food Stores and 10Box. The sale will not affect store operations.
Commercial real estate firm CBRE brokered the deal, led by Will Lightfoot and Jason Little in Oklahoma City and David Erstine and Hunter Groce in Fayetteville.
“We’re very excited we were able to leverage CBRE’s network and global investment platform to produce an optimal outcome for Harps and its employees,” said Erstine, first vice president with CBRE in Fayetteville.
Since 2015, CBRE has assisted Harps in sale-leaseback transactions worth $110 million.
“Harps is employee-owned, and we manage our balance sheet to maximize value for our shareholder-employees,” said J. Max Van Hoose, executive vice president at Harps Food Stores. “Working alongside CBRE, the sale-leaseback transaction has been a very effective tool to unlock capital for more efficient uses including store expansion, as well as to secure long-term, low occupancy costs, which leads to higher profitability.”
Harps Food Stores operates 113 supermarkets in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. It is the largest employee-owned company headquartered in Arkansas and the 20th largest in the United States.