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LANDOVER, Md. -- The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co./Giant Food chain yesterday said it has no plans to shutter stores or rename stores, contrary to a trade media report released earlier this week that claimed the chain was considering such plans. An official from parent company Ahold USA told Progressive Grocer that comments made by the company in an analyst presentation had been taken out of context.
In a statement today, the grocer reaffirmed its plan to renovate 18 Giant stores over the next two years, a strategy that was first revealed last week in the course of a release of second-quarter financial results by parent company Royal Ahold.
"Our plans to improve the Giant Food store facilities are being expedited," said Stop & Shop/Giant Food president and c.e.o. Marc Smith in the statement. "Giant customers will see some exciting changes in the coming months."
"In the upcoming months, some Giant stores will temporarily close to allow for the construction of a larger, replacement supermarket, but they will reopen in the same market area, as a Giant Food store," said Smith. "We have no current plans to permanently close any Giant store operations in any market areas, nor do we plan to convert Giant stores to the Stop & Shop trade name."
The company said that, wherever possible, stores will be replaced with an updated prototype featuring the best in design, technology, and product selection from both Giant and Stop & Shop. As well as being bigger, the prototype stores will include more nongrocery departments than an average Giant location.
In August, Ahold shut four Super G stores in southern New Jersey. Earlier this month, the remaining Super G locations in the region became Stop & Shop stores to provide the company "increased synergies with Stop & Shop's existing operations in New Jersey," the company said.
In other Giant of Landover news, Washington-based nonprofit animal advocacy group Compassion Over Killing, Inc. (COK) has agreed to settle all claims against Giant in a lawsuit that the group had brought in February in D.C. Superior Court against the retailer, as well as Brookville Supermarket in Washington, and Greencastle, Pa.-based Lehman's Egg Service in connection with the use of the United Egg Producers' "Animal Care Certified" logo on cartons of shell eggs.
COK had said the logo "deceives shoppers by conveying a false message of humane animal care." The group alleged that "Animal Care Certified" guidelines permit egg producers to keep chickens in confining cages, cut off parts of their beaks without anesthetic, and starve the birds.
Giant has agreed to remove the logo from cartons of Giant store-brand eggs, while it further investigates COK's claims. The lawsuit continues against the remaining defendants.
Giant Food LLC operates 191 supermarkets, 162 of which feature full-service pharmacies, in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, employing over 25,000 associates. Giant stores in Delaware operate under the Super G banner.