(Nov. 12) LEWISVILLE, Texas — Continuing its transition to a pure wholesale grocery distributor, Fleming Inc. is reviewing bids it has received for suitors wanting to buy its 110 Food For Less and Rainbow Foods retail stores.

The solicitations to sell the stores come as the wholesaler reported a net loss of $20.9 million, or 39 cents a share, for the third quarter, which ended Oct. 5. In the same quarter a year ago, net income was $19.1 million, or 40 cents a share, Fleming recently announced.

Fleming chief executive officer Mark Hansen in an Oct. 23 conference call announced the existence of “multiple interested parties” for Rainbow Foods, Hopkins, Minn., which operates 44 stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Fleming isn’t releasing information on bidders or possible sales scenarios, said Shane Boyd, a Fleming spokesman. He said he expects some of the sales transactions to be completed by the end of this year.

“By selling the stores, we’re able to focus solely on distribution, our core business,” Boyd said. “It also means we will no longer be competing with our retail customers for shoppers’ dollars. We received some positive feedback from retailers on that.”

The retail operations accounted for 12% of Fleming’s business, Boyd said.

The $450 million Fleming said it expects to receive from the supermarket sales will be used to pay ]back debts.

The distributor lost $1.5 million or 3 cents a share from continuing operations compared to last year, when it earned $16.5 million or 35 cents a share.

Fleming’s stock continues to fall. It sold for $25 a share in May. On Nov. 7, Fleming shares closed at $6.25.