NEW YORK (AP) — SuperValu says it is considering spinning off its discount grocer Save-A-Lot into a separate publicly traded company as competition in the industry intensifies.

The company says the split will help each company focus on finding ways to grow. SuperValu Inc. has been getting smaller in recent years, selling its Albertson’s, Jewel-Osco and other chains.

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Rival chains have been combining. Last month, the owner of Stop & Shop and Giant stores said it will merge with the parent company of Food Lion to operate 6,500 stores around the world.

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Save-A-Lot has more than 1,300 stores around the country, selling fresh meat, vegetables and other groceries. Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based SuperValu distributes grocery items to nearly 3,600 stores and also operates the Cub Foods and Shop ‘N Save chains.

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