Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. No non-grocery posts.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by storewanderer »

retailfanmitchell019 wrote: February 19th, 2021, 2:34 pm Market Basket always prefers to expand organically. They don't ever acquire stores. They are moving into Rhode Island lately.

Big Y could acquire stores in Vermont up for divestiture, assuming Albertsons buys Price Chopper/Tops.
There would also be some overlap in western NH and central MA (around Worcester) assuming this would happen.
I don't see Albertsons buying Price Chopper/Tops. Price Chopper alone sounded possible and we know there were pretty strong rumors. Add Tops in and that does not seem like a great idea.

Generally speaking I think the days of Albertsons attempting to buy any chain they possibly can, as they were trying to do a few years ago, have ended and they have shifted their focus to operating their existing stores better, remodeling existing stores, and rolling out the online and pick-up options. Albertsons needs to become a better operator and I think they have in the past year but there are still a lot of improvements to be made. And pricing continues to be a major problem for them in many markets (not as bad in my market where they have a price cut program in place... very good pricing on many items here).
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by pseudo3d »

storewanderer wrote: February 19th, 2021, 7:04 pm
retailfanmitchell019 wrote: February 19th, 2021, 2:34 pm Market Basket always prefers to expand organically. They don't ever acquire stores. They are moving into Rhode Island lately.

Big Y could acquire stores in Vermont up for divestiture, assuming Albertsons buys Price Chopper/Tops.
There would also be some overlap in western NH and central MA (around Worcester) assuming this would happen.
I don't see Albertsons buying Price Chopper/Tops. Price Chopper alone sounded possible and we know there were pretty strong rumors. Add Tops in and that does not seem like a great idea.

Generally speaking I think the days of Albertsons attempting to buy any chain they possibly can, as they were trying to do a few years ago, have ended and they have shifted their focus to operating their existing stores better, remodeling existing stores, and rolling out the online and pick-up options. Albertsons needs to become a better operator and I think they have in the past year but there are still a lot of improvements to be made. And pricing continues to be a major problem for them in many markets (not as bad in my market where they have a price cut program in place... very good pricing on many items here).
The Price Chopper merger was leaked, it wasn't supposed to be public knowledge until they had closer to making the deal. I'd like to see Albertsons do better too, but the local stores closed in the LLC days and the other closest division, Randalls, isn't doing so hot...plus, the fact that Price Chopper/Tops was never in their market area during the best of times (in terms of store count at its peak in early 2001, not in terms of operations) is probably for the best.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by BillyGr »

storewanderer wrote: February 19th, 2021, 7:04 pm I don't see Albertsons buying Price Chopper/Tops. Price Chopper alone sounded possible and we know there were pretty strong rumors. Add Tops in and that does not seem like a great idea.

Generally speaking I think the days of Albertsons attempting to buy any chain they possibly can, as they were trying to do a few years ago, have ended and they have shifted their focus to operating their existing stores better, remodeling existing stores, and rolling out the online and pick-up options. Albertsons needs to become a better operator and I think they have in the past year but there are still a lot of improvements to be made. And pricing continues to be a major problem for them in many markets (not as bad in my market where they have a price cut program in place... very good pricing on many items here).
Not sure that adding Tops in makes much difference. They only have 3 stores in VT (all former Grand Unions, which means Shaw's didn't buy the stores in those towns) and 17 in PA (which seem to be either far west like Erie, kind of left over from their Ohio days, or along the PA/NY line, and even there not sure that a store like Acme is in those locations for an Albertson's overlap).

You might have one or two of the stores that they got in NY from Hannaford/Stop & Shop that are close to the very few Acme's that wound up in NY via buyouts of old A&P locations.

So whatever overlap existed when looking at Price Chopper with Shaw's or Acme hasn't been added to (or only a tiny bit) with the addition of Tops to the group.

That is, if the newly merged stores are even interested in further consolidation.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by buckguy »

I was in Vermont, the Adirondacks and then Western NY recently. Tops has an odd collection of stores--tiny stores in small town locations like Saranac Lake and Au Sable Forks that were mostly were once Grand Union. They sold some larger stores (including one in Saranac Lake!) to others including Hannaford and Price Chopper and some smaller ones went back to Grand Union for awhile. It will be interesting to see what happens to these small stores (probably 10-15K sf). They also have substantial market share in Buffalo with modern, larger stores which may be the real attraction here. Tops in Erie probably always has been part of Buffalo operation. None of the old Cleveland chains ever entered the Erie market unless you count a short-lived and small presence from Kroger's Cleveland division. Pittsburgh and Buffalo are more natural connections and, in the past, Loblaw and Acme were there---Loblaw supplied stores in Ashtabula and Conneaut, Ohio from Buffalo and their successor Peter Schmitt supplied stores in the Cleveland area.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by BillyGr »

buckguy wrote: September 26th, 2021, 1:01 pm I was in Vermont, the Adirondacks and then Western NY recently. Tops has an odd collection of stores--tiny stores in small town locations like Saranac Lake and Au Sable Forks that were mostly were once Grand Union. They sold some larger stores (including one in Saranac Lake!) to others including Hannaford and Price Chopper and some smaller ones went back to Grand Union for awhile. It will be interesting to see what happens to these small stores (probably 10-15K sf). They also have substantial market share in Buffalo with modern, larger stores which may be the real attraction here. Tops in Erie probably always has been part of Buffalo operation. None of the old Cleveland chains ever entered the Erie market unless you count a short-lived and small presence from Kroger's Cleveland division. Pittsburgh and Buffalo are more natural connections and, in the past, Loblaw and Acme were there---Loblaw supplied stores in Ashtabula and Conneaut, Ohio from Buffalo and their successor Peter Schmitt supplied stores in the Cleveland area.
Actually, just about all the Tops in NY east of Cooperstown (that was a P&C) are, as far as I know, former Grand Unions (there are a couple in Dutchess County and South that they took over from S&S/Hannaford when those two merged, as they were too close in that small area).

They took over a bunch right after the chain went bankrupt, something occurred where they didn't pay or something (this was, I believe when Tops was connected to Ahold) and the wholesaler took them back (resigned as GU Family Markets), then finally Tops (now independent) bought them back about 10 years ago, but also got a few that were never Tops the first time (mostly from Albany area south into the Catskills).

In most of these places, they are the only store (unless others have moved in in the last 10 or so years), so it wouldn't be surprising if they stick around, unless someone else wants to come in, or they at some point want to enlarge/replace them.

The Saranac Lake was odd - as C&S the wholesaler only kept stores without competition (that's how, when they got the northern stores back the one in Lake Placid wound up as Hannaford, since there is also a Price Chopper there), but somehow they had both stores there in Saranac Lake, and only much more recently did Tops finally close the one (like 2 or 3 years back - both survived from GU to Tops back to GU back to Tops).
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by BillyGr »

Noting that no one else posted it - this "merger" was officially completed yesterday (11/8).

As noted originally, both chains will have their own HQ as before, with a new "parent company" based in Schenectady.

The one twist that wasn't known - 12 Tops locations will be sold off for competition issues.

They are being sold to... C&S Wholesalers, who will run them under the name... GU Family Markets! Now, where have I heard THAT name before ;)

Of the 12, I know of 3 (Saranac Lake, Warrensburg and Rutland VT) that are actual former Grand Unions and at least a couple of those will be getting their THIRD Grand Union signs (the two NY ones went to Tops, back to C&S and then back to Tops between the original GU bankruptcy and about 2012 - not sure if Rutland ever switched the first time).
The others are actual Tops stores in various areas of northern and central NY (some are likely ones they inherited from P&C Foods, Cooperstown being the one I know of).

Did someone say time machine... :)
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by retailfanmitchell019 »

BillyGr wrote: November 9th, 2021, 11:44 am Noting that no one else posted it - this "merger" was officially completed yesterday (11/8).

As noted originally, both chains will have their own HQ as before, with a new "parent company" based in Schenectady.

The one twist that wasn't known - 12 Tops locations will be sold off for competition issues.

They are being sold to... C&S Wholesalers, who will run them under the name... GU Family Markets! Now, where have I heard THAT name before ;)

Of the 12, I know of 3 (Saranac Lake, Warrensburg and Rutland VT) that are actual former Grand Unions and at least a couple of those will be getting their THIRD Grand Union signs (the two NY ones went to Tops, back to C&S and then back to Tops between the original GU bankruptcy and about 2012 - not sure if Rutland ever switched the first time).
The others are actual Tops stores in various areas of northern and central NY (some are likely ones they inherited from P&C Foods, Cooperstown being the one I know of).

Did someone say time machine... :)
I wonder if Shaw's made a bid for the Rutland store?
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by cathandler »

retailfanmitchell019 wrote: November 9th, 2021, 12:45 pm I wonder if Shaw's made a bid for the Rutland store?
Rutland is an obvious gap in Shaw's coverage of Vermont. I wonder if they were looking to have a single entity take over all the divested stores instead of a piecemeal approach in order to wrap up the merger as soon as possible. I wouldn't rule out C&S flipping one or more of the acquired stores, although the union situation complicates things.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by storewanderer »

cathandler wrote: November 9th, 2021, 7:20 pm
retailfanmitchell019 wrote: November 9th, 2021, 12:45 pm I wonder if Shaw's made a bid for the Rutland store?
Rutland is an obvious gap in Shaw's coverage of Vermont. I wonder if they were looking to have a single entity take over all the divested stores instead of a piecemeal approach in order to wrap up the merger as soon as possible. I wouldn't rule out C&S flipping one or more of the acquired stores, although the union situation complicates things.
Hard to believe Grand Union is being put onto these stores. I think they are doomed. C&S must be trying to build volume.

C&S should focus harder on getting its independents properly stocked out in CA. Pretty poor in-stock conditions across various of the stores they supply out of NorCal. Oddly FoodsCo in Sacramento (which C&S supplies most items to) is fully stocked. C&S needs to remember it is the independents that are their foundation.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by pseudo3d »

BillyGr wrote: November 9th, 2021, 11:44 am Noting that no one else posted it - this "merger" was officially completed yesterday (11/8).

As noted originally, both chains will have their own HQ as before, with a new "parent company" based in Schenectady.

The one twist that wasn't known - 12 Tops locations will be sold off for competition issues.

They are being sold to... C&S Wholesalers, who will run them under the name... GU Family Markets! Now, where have I heard THAT name before ;)

Of the 12, I know of 3 (Saranac Lake, Warrensburg and Rutland VT) that are actual former Grand Unions and at least a couple of those will be getting their THIRD Grand Union signs (the two NY ones went to Tops, back to C&S and then back to Tops between the original GU bankruptcy and about 2012 - not sure if Rutland ever switched the first time).
The others are actual Tops stores in various areas of northern and central NY (some are likely ones they inherited from P&C Foods, Cooperstown being the one I know of).

Did someone say time machine... :)
Yes, I did see that the merger was completed with the new name of the combined company...Northeast Grocery Inc., a few days ago. (Hmm...maybe they can merge with SEG to be a East Coast grocery empire...I kid, I kid). Shaw's not making a bid for anything is reminiscent of Albertsons' strategy under Sankaran, investing in "technology" while not expanding or improving the chain. (Well, they did purchase Kings'/Balducci's, but...).
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