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The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P), which has experienced a steady stream of financial difficulties throughout the past two decades, is looking to sell as many as 137 of its 301 stores, according to published reports.
According to The New York Post, stores to be sold across the Montvale, N.J.-based retailer’s six-store footprint include all 10 of The Food Emporium stores in Manhattan. The newspaper also cited a list of stores to be sold, which it said features both money-making and underperforming locations.
The company hasn’t confirmed a sale, but acknowledged it's conducting a strategic review that could lead to shedding stores. “The review includes raising new capital from investors, considering new business-partner relationships and exploring the sale of certain assets of the company,” A&P noted in a statement.
The latest news of A&P's potential store divestures finds many trade observers unfazed.
“I’m not surprised in the least" by reports of a potential sale, Baltimore-based grocery industry analyst Jeremy Diamond told Progressive Grocer. “The company has struggled for so many years and has ‘missed the boat’ every time. They relied on their brand too much, which no longer has much value."
Recalling the company's halcyon days as the nation's largest and most envied supermarket chain, Diamond observed: "A&P did not evolve and change with the demographics and shopping habits of today’s grocery shoppers. Without identifying their niche, they would not survive. The company tried shuffling around its leadership team and other survival methods; however, it failed to identify [its] niche and communicate effectively with the public," as well as with associates.
Diamond further observed, “I think whoever buys the company will remove the A&P namesake, since it has little value in today's marketplace.”