Price Chopper, Tops to merge

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cathandler
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Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by cathandler »

The combined company will operate out of Schenectady. The banners will continue to operate separately. It's not clear how overlapping stores will be dealt with. Both chains have had their share of struggles in recent years, so I'm not sure if the synergies will be as beneficial as one might think.
https://www.supermarketnews.com/retail- ... kets-merge
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by retailfanmitchell019 »

Tops would've been another acquisition opportunity for Albertsons... Maybe Albertsons can buy the combined company once the merger is complete.
I think both chains compete in Syracuse.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by TW-Upstate NY »

Geez Billy-I thought you were going to scoop me on this one and turns out we both got scooped. Now, here's a conflict right out of the gate-Tops is union and Price Chopper is not and never has been. The UFCW tried a few times but has pretty much given up. I wonder what'll happen if say a Tops is converted to a Price Chopper or Market 32 banner. Sure hope the UFCW has a strong union security clause in the Tops CBA.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by cathandler »

TW-Upstate NY wrote: February 8th, 2021, 11:12 am Geez Billy-I thought you were going to scoop me on this one and turns out we both got scooped. Now, here's a conflict right out of the gate-Tops is union and Price Chopper is not and never has been. The UFCW tried a few times but has pretty much given up. I wonder what'll happen if say a Tops is converted to a Price Chopper or Market 32 banner. Sure hope the UFCW has a strong union security clause in the Tops CBA.
I imagine that's why both chains are going to operate separately. That said, I suspect Price Chopper will be the winner in conflict markets, though the union situation could make things awkward to say the least.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by cathandler »

retailfanmitchell019 wrote: February 8th, 2021, 10:20 am Tops would've been another acquisition opportunity for Albertsons... Maybe Albertsons can buy the combined company once the merger is complete.
I think both chains compete in Syracuse.
There is quite a bit of overlap in Syracuse. As for an Albertsons acquisition, there's a huge amount of overlap in Vermont that would be difficult to resolve. Perhaps Wakefern would be a suitor for the conflicts there; they already operate in Western Mass and New Hampshire under the Price Rite banner. Hannaford is maxed out, and Market Basket doesn't do acquisitions on that scale.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by mjhale »

cathandler wrote: February 8th, 2021, 11:26 am
TW-Upstate NY wrote: February 8th, 2021, 11:12 am Geez Billy-I thought you were going to scoop me on this one and turns out we both got scooped. Now, here's a conflict right out of the gate-Tops is union and Price Chopper is not and never has been. The UFCW tried a few times but has pretty much given up. I wonder what'll happen if say a Tops is converted to a Price Chopper or Market 32 banner. Sure hope the UFCW has a strong union security clause in the Tops CBA.
I imagine that's why both chains are going to operate separately. That said, I suspect Price Chopper will be the winner in conflict markets, though the union situation could make things awkward to say the least.
What options does the union have in a situation like this? When Ahold and Delhaize merged there were a group of Giant-MD stores outside the core Washington/Baltimore market that went up for sale to address redundancies. Between community outcry (Giant-MD is far superior to Food Lion) and the union getting involved the Food Lion stores were unloaded instead. Most if not all of them went to Weis which is non-union. The one Giant-MD store that was sold in Salisbury, MD went to Acme which is a union operator. I'm guessing the union will mandate as best it can that the stores stay union with a new operator. But what would happen if the new combined company wanted to go from Tops to Price Chopper/Market 32?
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by pseudo3d »

Albertsons wanted to buy Price Chopper several years ago but it fell through. I wonder if this will affect Price Chopper's plans going forwards, as Price Chopper had wanted to convert everything to Market 32, but a lot of the Tops stores are pretty small and downscale, with many of their stores inherited from Penn Traffic. In fact, Tops is one of the few supermarket chains were they have a number of stores under 10,000 square feet, which is where Kroger and Albertsons usually stop (the store in Boston, NY is an example).

Given that Price Chopper seems to be the surviving company in the acquisition, going forward, they'll likely dismantle Tops in favor of their own banners and rules.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by TW-Upstate NY »

In reading some of the news articles on this, there's going to be an important "test" in regards to the union situation very shortly. The CBA for Tops Adirondack area stores (North Country) is up for negotiation and a statement from the UFCW says they "look forward" to working with the new management-whatever that means. Believe it or not, back in the '60's (and I wish I had saved the article from a digital archive site I frequent), somehow the forerunner of the UFCW managed to win a representation election in one single Golub Corp. store. I don't know if the company challenged the results or closed the store but that's about as far as it got and they remain non union to this day. I never saw any follow up articles on what ultimately happened. Who knows what's going to happen here-many grocery chains that have acquired other chains over the years and operate both union and non union banners alike and maybe that's how this will ultimately play out.
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by BillyGr »

This merger sounds very similar to the one between the parent companies of Stop & Shop and Hannaford a couple years back.

No idea if it will work out the same, but with that one there is very little change in the stores themselves, save a few items from the Stop & Shop side that have appeared in Hannaford (mostly seasonal stuff in different flavors for each season).
When those two merged, they only had to sell off a very small number of locations (of which several wound up going to Tops, as it turns out) - primarily in an area where those two were the only supermarket options.

So far, in postings last night two of those appeared in NY - Warrensburg (where PC built a newer store and Tops runs a former Grand Union) and Cooperstown (where Tops is a former P&C Foods and PC took over what was (I believe) a Great American.

If they were forced to sell one off for each spot, it would make sense to keep the newer PC in Warrensburg and the Tops in Cooperstown, not only by size/age but as that brand is more common in those areas.

With the Syracuse area, they might not have to do this, as there are Wegmans there as well, so they don't "monopolize" the market.

Basically (as noted to some degree) at this point both chains will run separately with just a corporate office that is over both - no way to know what else may occur as things go into the future.

The other (minor) thing that is bouncing around is that, with this giving Price Chopper some say in Tops (which has far more stores in the part of NY that is home to another chain), would that give that other chain a reason to now move stores into the area that Price Chopper calls home (which, supposedly never happened with an agreement between the two, if such really existed)? At least one county executive already offered to welcome said chain if they were interested...
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Re: Price Chopper, Tops to merge

Post by BillyGr »

pseudo3d wrote: February 8th, 2021, 4:52 pm I wonder if this will affect Price Chopper's plans going forwards, as Price Chopper had wanted to convert everything to Market 32, but a lot of the Tops stores are pretty small and downscale, with many of their stores inherited from Penn Traffic. In fact, Tops is one of the few supermarket chains were they have a number of stores under 10,000 square feet, which is where Kroger and Albertsons usually stop (the store in Boston, NY is an example).
Not sure that Price Chopper has any quite that small, but they do have a few city stores that are much smaller than most stores are these days. The two in Albany (Delaware and Madison Avenue) were both among the locations already converted to the Market 32 label, so they have some experience with doing that even in a store that is well below most they are converting. There is also one in Cohoes that dates back to when they were Central Markets - that one hasn't been converted yet, but has remained open.

With that being said, they did also close several older smaller locations, but some of those had larger stores within a reasonable distance, and at least one (Troy) was due to issues with the location (flooding), though that one has found life this winter as a farmers market.
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