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    Hannaford Bros. to Take Over Three Former Tops Supermarket

    SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- Hannaford Bros. Co., based here, said yesterday that it would assume the leases for two Tops Supermarkets in Utica and New Hartford, N.Y., and buy a Clinton, N.Y. shopping center in which a third Tops store currently operates.

    SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- Hannaford Bros. Co., based here, said yesterday that it would assume the leases for two Tops Supermarkets in Utica and New Hartford, N.Y., and buy a Clinton, N.Y. shopping center in which a third Tops store currently operates.

    Hannaford will assume the leases in early 2006, and the Northeast grocer intends to start operating the three locations in mid-2006 after renovating them and introducing Hannaford products. The Utica location's pharmacy will operate without interruption.

    "Hannaford is continuing to grow in New York," noted Hannaford spokeswoman Caren Epstein in a statement. "We currently operate 34 stores in New York, with several additional stores under construction and more on the drawing board."

    Continued Epstein: "We will continue to pursue opportunities such as the Tops lease and equipment acquisitions when and where they make strategic sense for our business."

    Delhaize group-owned Hannaford now operates 145 supermarkets and food and drug combination stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts under the Hannaford Supermarket and Hannaford Supermarket and Pharmacy banners. Hannaford employs over 24,000 associates.

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