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    Weis Markets to Acquire 5 Mars Stores

    Deal will double retailer's presence in Baltimore

    Weis Markets has made good on rampant speculation with its move to acquire five Mars Super Market locations in Maryland from the D'Anna family, which had reportedly been seeking to unload some of its supermarkets in recent years.

    The deal to pick up five Mars stores will more than double Sunbury, Pa.-based Weis' presence in Baltimore County.

    The Baltimore Sun reported that no plans were revealed for Mars' remaining eight locations, which aren't included in the deal with Weis.

    The deal covers two Mars stores in Dundalk and one each in Arbutus, Carney and Essex, Md. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in late July and will convert the five stores to the Weis banner in August, weren't disclosed.

    Weis currently operates 25 Maryland stores. The addition of the Mars stores will advance its total in Baltimore County to nine.

    The Sun published a statement from Chris D'Anna, Mars chairman and CEO, which said: "As a family-owned business, we recognize Weis Markets as a company with a similar commitment to its communities, customers and associates. This was an extremely important consideration in our decision."

    Kurt Schertle, Weis Markets' COO, told the newspaper: "We've been working on growing our footprint in Maryland, and specifically the Baltimore region, for years now, and we've always been an admirer of Mars. They run a nice, local business. We thought for a while it would be a good opportunity. It turned out this happened to be the right time."

    Schertle further tnoted: "We think we can learn a lot from the Mars stores [about] local merchandising," which he said would help Weis acclimate to the market quickly while retaining Mars' existing local offerings. "Those five stores in Baltimore County can help us get better with local items," he said. "We want to add to their offerings while keeping [the] local flair and local flavor that they have. We see this as a reciprocal arrangement."

    Accordingly, Schertle said that Weis, which operates 162 stores in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia, would be able to leverage its scale to improve operations at the Mars stores.


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