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    Tops Rebranding Acquired BiLo Stores

    Tops Markets, LLC said Friday it would change the banners of the Quality Markets, P&C and BiLo stores it purchased in January from the bankrupt Penn Traffic Co. to its own name.

    Tops Markets, LLC said Friday it would change the banners of the Quality Markets, P&C and BiLo stores it purchased in January from the bankrupt Penn Traffic Co. to its own name. The re-branding of the locations will take place through the end of 2010 as part of a two-year, $90 million, multi-phase store capital improvement program that aims to enhance Tops customers’ shopping experience.

    “After a thorough evaluation, which included consumer market research, it was determined that our customers would best be served by having all these stores under the one Tops Friendly Markets brand banner,” noted Tops president and CEO Frank Curci.

    “Before we made the decision to change the stores’ banners to Tops Markets, we conducted research in our new markets and found a higher degree of favorability toward the Tops brand name,” added Diane Colgan, Tops’ VP of sales development and marketing. “It was very important for us to understand how much value the existing brand had in these communities before we made changes. We found that these customers are ready for a fresh start, and are eager to see what Tops has to offer.”

    In addition to the rebranding, Tops will undertake either major renovations or smaller improvements to modernize the stores. Improvements will include new interior and exterior signage, new décor, food cases, restroom renovations and, at some locations, new storefronts, flooring and lighting. Additionally all stores will be made as energy efficient as possible and feature Tim Hortons self-serve kiosks offering such items as baked goods and coffee.
    “Tops is currently operating 55 of the 79 stores,” Tops’ spokeswoman Katie McKenna told Progressive Grocer. “There is still an FTC review pending for seven of those stores. Tops will re-brand a majority of those 55 stores before 2011, and the outcome of the FTC review will dictate the future of those FTC stores.”
    Over the next few months, more Tops brand products will appear on the stores’ shelves, in addition to a wider variety of national brand items. Additionally, weekly ads and other promotions are already offering greater value to shoppers, according to Curci.

    Since acquiring 79 stores from Penn Traffic, Tops has sold six of them to Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper and five to Pittsburgh’s Giant Eagle.

    Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops operates 131 full-service supermarkets — 126 company-owned and five franchise locations — and has over 13,000 associates.

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