U.S. retail giant Kroger Co. said Tuesday it has agreed to buy Harris Teeter, a mid-Atlantic supermarket chain, for $2.5 billion. Kroger operates stores in 31 states and employees 343,000 people in 2,419 supermarkets and multi-department stores, making it one of the country\'s largest retailers. Harris Teeter operated 212 stores, the companies said in a statement. The deal represents a 33.7 percent premium over Harris Teeter\'s closing share price Jan. 18, 2013, the day news of a pending deal became public. The price in the deal is $49.38 per share, the statement said. The regional supermarket chain represents an \"exceptional brand,\" the statement said, but much of its appeal is its location. Harris Teeter has stores in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia. Harris Teeter had revenues of $4.5 billion in its 2012 fiscal year. Combined, the company will operate 2,631 supermarkets with over 368,300 employees. Harris Teeter will operate as a subsidiary of The Kroger Co., allowing it to keep its senior management intact and maintain its headquarters in Matthews, N.C. Kroger Co. has its headquarters in Cincinnati.