The Kroger Co, the second-largest retailer in the U.S., is under a merger agreement to buy Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc, an upscale grocer known for fresh foods and produce, in a deal valued at $2.5 billion.

Harris Teeter brings to Kroger an exceptional brand and complementary base of 212 stores in southeastern and mid-Atlantic markets and in Washington, D.C. The stores are located primarily in high-growth markets, vacation destinations and university communities in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia. Harris Teeter had revenues of approximately $4.5 billion for fiscal year 2012, less than 5% of Kroger’s. David B. Dillon, Kroger’s chairman and CEOC said: “Harris Teeter is an exceptional company with a great brand, friendly and talented associates, and attractive store formats in vibrant markets run by a first-class management team. They share our customer-centric approach to everything we do from store format and merchandising to innovative loyalty programs.”