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Lowe's is sole bidder for Orchard Supply

MOORESEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Orchard Supply Hardware Stores has not received any additional buyout offers, leaving Lowe's as the sole bidder.

Orchard is a Sears spinoff that filed for bankruptcy in June. That same month the San Jose, Calif. company received an approximately $205 million offer from Lowe's Cos. for 72 of its stores. The "stalking horse" bid also included the assumption of payables owed to nearly all of Orchard's suppliers. Friday was the deadline set by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware for any competing bids.

Orchard has been in talks with a number of potential buyers but says it has not received any qualifying bids before the deadline.

Lowe's said Monday that it anticipates closing on the deal by the end of the month. The home improvement retailer said Orchard will operate as a stand-alone business under its current management team and brand.

Orchard stores that complement Lowe's existing store base will continue to operate, the Mooresville, N.C., company said.

But it will also allow Lowe's to expand in California, where it currently has 110 stores and to reach into urban areas. Because Orchard's has smaller stores, in can operate in areas of dense population.

Orchard's stores are typically about 36,000 square feet, while Lowe's stores are 113,000 square feet on average.

Hardware and garden supply company