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Tops Markets LLC has entered into an agreement with GU Markets LLC, an affiliate of wholesaler C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., to purchase 21 supermarkets in upstate New York and Vermont. Coming two years after Tops’ 2010 acquisition of Penn Traffic stores, the acquisition will expand the Williamsville, N.Y.-based grocery chain’s footprint further into northern and eastern New York state, as well as into neighboring northern Vermont.
“We are very excited about this growth opportunity for Tops, especially since these stores are a natural extension of our current footprint,” noted Tops president and CEO Frank Curci.
“We believe this transition makes excellent strategic sense for both organizations,” added Michael Newbold, EVP and chief administrative officer for Keene, N.H.-based C&S, whose relationship with Tops is entering its second decade. “It allows Tops to strengthen its retail network, while C&S will continue to focus on its core business of providing innovative supply and logistics solutions to its wholesale customers.”
For now, 20 stores will continue to be operated under their current Grand Union banner, and one store will remain under its current Bryant’s banner. Tops plans to offer the approximately 600 associates working at these locations the opportunity for continued employment, and to operate the acquired stores without any interruption in service upon the closing of the deal.
“Upon closing, we plan, as we have demonstrated with many of our acquired stores, to invest in those stores and the surrounding communities in an effort to best serve our associates and customers,” said Tops COO Kevin Darrington.
Subject to customary closing conditions, the sale is expected to close by fall 2012. Specific terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.
Tops currently operates 132 supermarkets – 127 company-owned and five franchise locations -- and employs more than 14,000 associates in upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania. Following the acquisition, the company will have 153 supermarkets – 148 company-owned and five franchise locations -- and more than 14,500 associates.