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Putting to end months of speculation about the fate of one of the nation’s most well-respected regional family-owned grocery companies, Ukrop’s Super Markets, Inc. is being acquired by Ahold USA’s Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant Food Stores subsidiary for about $140 million, which includes the longtime Richmond, Va.-based independent’s inventory, equipment, lease agreements and one new store location.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010, with Giant expected to hire Ukrop’s store associates as part of the transaction that will expand its presence in Virginia with the acquisition of 25 of Ukrop’s 27 stores in the greater Richmond and Williamsburg, Va., areas.
“We believe that the Giant/Martin’s combination of global strength and local focus will provide an even greater shopping experience for our customers, which will mean long-term security and more growth opportunities for our associates,” added Ukrop’s chairman, president and CEO Bobby Ukrop.
Calling the acquisition “an exceptional fit for two companies that share common values including a commitment to our associates, customers and communities,” Rick Herring, who was recently named Giant-Carlisle’s new president, aspires to minimize upheaval and disruption for customers during the ownership transition. “It is our goal to build on the heritage of a great company and ensure the least amount of disruption to customers as part of the sale process. Customers should expect to find the same friendly store teams, excellent customer service and quality foods that they have always found at their local Ukrop’s.”
According to unnamed Ukrop’s sources cited by Richmond Times Dispatch, Ukrop’s will retain its name for a couple of years after the acquisition and be open on Sunday. The stores are currently closed on Sundays and don’t carry alcoholic beverages. The newspaper reported that the locations would sell alcohol once they no longer operated under the Ukrop’s name.
Employing more than 26,000 full- and part-time associates, Giant-Carlisle operates 152 stores in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia under the Giant and Martin’s banners. Although Giant-Carlisle is new to the Richmond area, it has operated in Virginia since 1984.