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Giant: Ukrop’s Changes Will Be Gradual

RICHMOND, Va. — Giant-Carlisle pledged Thursday that it would tread lightly regarding changes to the Ukrop’s stores it was buying, but said that the name and policies of the iconic grocer here would continue “for the time being.”

Reports yesterday said Giant would introduce Sunday shopping and alcohol sales at Ukrop’s Super Markets only after it retires the Ukrop’s name on the stores, adding that those changes could be a coupe of years in the future. Giant and its Netherlands-based parent, Ahold, said on Thursday Giant would buy the iconic chain for $140 million. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010.

“Over time, we intend to build on the Ukrop’s heritage and strengths and introduce the characteristics for which Giant and Martin’s are well-known,” Tracy Pawelski, a Giant spokeswoman, told SN. “Our goal will be to enhance the shopping experience and minimize any disruption to customers accustomed to shopping at the stores.”

Ahold’s bid included all but one currently operating Ukrop’s store — it was not immediately known which Ukrop’s location was not included in the deal. Joe’s Market, a small specialty store, was not purchased by Ahold, nor were Ukrop’s commissary and bakery businesses. Those will be run by a new company headed up by Bobby Ukrop, currently Ukrop’s chief executive officer.

Pawleski said the stores would continue to be serviced through current distributor Supervalu for the time being.

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