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New York – British convenience store operator EG Group is buying Kroger’s convenience store unit for $2.15 billion as it expands into the U.S.

Kroger and other grocery store operators have been facing tougher competition from companies including Walmart and Amazon. The Cincinnati company has been considering a sale of its convenience store operations since October.

EG Group expects to close the purchase of the Kroger’s business unit early this year. The acquisition includes 66 locations in 18 states employing 11,000 workers.

EG Group will base its North American headquarters in Cincinnati.

Kroger plans to use proceeds from the sale to buy back stock and pay down debt.

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