Lucky Stores Inc. said Wednesday it is talking with third parties interested in buying the Arizona and Florida stores that make up nearly a third of the chain.

Lucky, the nation's sixth-largest supermarket chain, began the negotiations Monday, said spokeswoman Judy Decker. She declined to elaborate.In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lucky said it is holding the talks with the consent of Gibbons, Green, van Amerongen Ltd. The New York-based investment firm has agreed to acquire all of Lucky's outstanding shares for $2.35 billion, or $61 a share.

That deal is an effort to block hostile suitor and competitor American Stores Co. of Salt Lake City, which made an initial offer of $45 a share five weeks ago and has since increased it to $60. American Stores has said it is considering making a higher offer.

Documents filed on the agreement with Gibbons, Green, van Amerongen said Lucky's stores in Arizona and Florida are dispensable to reduce debt from the transaction. Stores in those two states represent roughly 30 percent of the 481 stores that Lucky operates.