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    Big Y Buys 7 A&P Stores

    CEO says the transaction “[fills] in holes within our existing markets.”

    Big Y Foods, Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire the operating assets of seven A&P stores in northern Connecticut by the end of next month. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

    “The acquisition of these stores provides an opportunity for Big Y to move into some key locations that make it a natural fit for Big Y by filling in holes within our existing markets,” explained Charles L. D’Amour, president and COO of Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y, which currently operates 58 stores in Connecticut and Massachusetts. “And, despite the troubling economy, we are especially excited about providing our employees with opportunities as we grow within our home markets.”

    The A&P stores are located in Branford, East Haven, Middletown, Mystic, Naugatuck, Old Lyme and West Hartford. After a brief evaluation period, Big Y will likely reopen a number of these locations as Big Y World Class Markets. The conversions will entail such minor renovations as signage and software changes, equipment and systems updates, and cleaning, painting and remerchandising. Although the locations will close briefly during the transition period, all pharmacies will stay open.

    According to Montvale, N.J.-based A&P, the sale of the stores is in line with its recently unveiled turnaround strategy. “We continue to evaluate our operating footprint and its alignment with our turnaround strategy,” said Sam Martin, the grocer’s president and CEO. “These seven stores were clearly outside of our core markets, and their sale was necessary.” Martin added that A&P “faces many difficult decisions over the next several months which are required to strengthen our foundation and improve our performance going forward,” although he didn’t specify which locations the company might sell off or close in the near future.

    All current employees of the affected stores will have the chance to be interviewed by Big Y for potential employment. The grocer will also hold local job fairs and accept applications online at www.bigy.com.

    Big Y has put a transition team in place to integrate systems so that customer service programs and standards are maintained. Additionally, customers will be able to sign up for a Big Y Express Savings Club card at any Big Y location, and the grocer will honor outstanding A&P gift cards for six months past the close of the acquisition.

    The Food Partners, based in Washington, assisted Big Y with the completion of this transaction.
     

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