MERGERS AND INTEGRATIONS

Big V Ready to GrowBig V Supermarkets, Florida, N.Y., the largest member of the Wakefern/ShopRite cooperative, is poised for continued growth in its Hudson Valley market, said David Bronstein, chairman and interim chief executive officer.Leading that growth will be capital expenditures to enhance the store base, cost reductions and improvements in customer service. The company is also open to becoming

Big V Ready to Grow

Big V Supermarkets, Florida, N.Y., the largest member of the Wakefern/ShopRite cooperative, is poised for continued growth in its Hudson Valley market, said David Bronstein, chairman and interim chief executive officer.

Leading that growth will be capital expenditures to enhance the store base, cost reductions and improvements in customer service. The company is also open to becoming a consolidator in its market. The retailer has set a $58 million capital expenditures program over the next four years. "There are 10 new replacement and expansion store projects to be completed by the end of 2002," said James A. Toopes Jr., executive vice president of finance, administration and corporate development.

Big V is counting on its Fresh Market prototype as the core of the building program. This concept includes a sub shop, scratch pizza station, sit-down areas, expanded produce variety and other attributes, Bronstein said. The 32-store operator will continue converting units to this concept.

On the merchandising front, private label eventually will reach 28% of total business, leading to higher gross margins, Bronstein said.

Same-store sales are advancing at slightly above 3% a year, fueled by the strong regional economy and the company's 32% market share, Bronstein said. The company benefits from its Wakefern connection with support in the private-label, advertising, technology and other areas.

What is Big V's view on making acquisitions in its region? The retailer would consider deals with other ShopRite members and acquiring other companies, Bronstein said.