WAYNE, N.J. -- Grand Union Co. here moved a step closer to its eventual demise as the Federal Trade Commission approved the sale of 185 Grand Union stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers, Brattleboro, Vt.
A final agreement between Grand Union and C&S is expected later this month, after which C&S will sell 90 of those units to four large retailers and an undetermined number to independent operators while retaining the balance as corporate stores.
A fifth retailer, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, N.Y., decided not to buy nine Grand Union locations, withdrawing its filing with the FTC a day before the Grand Union said earlier this month the commission will permit the company to complete the sale of assets to GU Markets, a C&S affiliate.
Two of the retailers who will acquire other Grand Union stores will each acquire two of the stores Price Chopper had initially planned to buy, a C&S spokesman told SN last week.
The retailers who will acquire Grand Union locations from C&S are Ahold USA, Chantilly, Va., which is set to acquire 58 stores and eight undeveloped sites; Shaw's Supermarkets, East Bridgewater, Mass., which has agreed to acquire 20 units; Pathmark Stores, Carteret, N.J., which expects to buy six stores; and Delhaize America, Salisbury, N.C., which agreed to take six units for its Maine-based Hannaford Bros. subsidiary.
Neil M. Golub, president and chief executive officer of Price Chopper, said his company decided to withdraw its offer to buy the nine locations because "we were unable to favorably resolve key issues that are vital to successfully acquiring these stores and operating them."
Two of the nine stores are located in Vermont, and the other seven are in the Albany, N.Y., metropolitan area. Shaw's will acquire the two Vermont stores, and Ahold will acquire two of the Albany-area stores, the C&S spokesman told SN.
A spokeswoman for Price Chopper said the chain ran into several issues that made it change its mind about the pending acquisition, including a possible FTC requirement to close an existing store to take over a Grand Union location or possible cannibalization of an existing store by two acquired stores.
Ahold said last week it plans to integrate 36 of the 58 stores it is buying and all eight undeveloped sites into its Stop & Shop operation, based in Quincy, Mass., and the other 22 stores into Tops Friendly Markets, Williamsville, N.Y., including the two Albany-area stores originally part of the Price Chopper deal.
The company said it expects to have all stores operating under their new banners by the spring or early summer.
Ahold said it will pay approximately $178 million for the stores and undeveloped sites; it also said it will take a one-time charge of about $50 million in fiscal 2001 to reflect the cost of converting the stores to the Ahold banners.
Ahold said it expects the acquisition to be accretive to earnings in 2002.
A spokesman for Shaw's said his company will put its name up on temporary banners, alongside the Grand Union logo, as soon as the acquisition is completed and each has been reset with Shaw's merchandise.
One acquired Grand Union store, in Fairfield, Conn., will be closed when the deal is completed, so Shaw's can build a larger unit, the spokesman said.
Pathmark said it will acquire three Grand Union locations in New Jersey and three in Long Island. The company said it will shut the stores down right after closing on them and reopen within two or three weeks under the Pathmark banner.