Stop & Shop announced on Friday that it has agreed to acquire King Kullen Grocery Co., a move that includes King Kullen's 32 supermarkets, five Wild by Nature stores and the use of its Bethpage, NY, corporate office.

"King Kullen is a well-respected grocery chain in the Long Island market that has an 88-year tradition of excellent customer service," says Mark McGowan, Stop & Shop's president. "We look forward to bringing our quality, selection and value to more communities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties."

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of this year. 

King Kullen is recognized by the Smithsonian Institute as America's first supermarket. The Institute says King Kullen was the first to fulfill all five criteria — separate departments, self-service, discount pricing, chain marketing, and volume dealing — of the modern supermarket.

Stop & Shop is the largest US brand of Ahold Delhaize. It operates more than 400 stores throughout the Northeast. 

"This transaction underscores our commitment to further strengthen the positions or our great local brands in the US, both through organic growth and fill-in acquisitions," says Frand Muller, Ahold Delhaize CEO.