A&P DEBUTS LATEST ‘FRESH’ FORMAT STORE IN N.J.
MONTVALE, N.J. — A&P here last week hosted the grand opening of the newest incarnation of its “Fresh” format at a remodeled store in Park Ridge, N.J. The location features 17 distinct “specialty food shops” around the perimeter of the store, including special sections for cheese, chocolate and artisan breads. The format is a blend of American and European design, the Montvale, N.J.-based company said. In an interview with SN at the opening, Paul Wiseman, senior vice president of store operations, said the new format includes improved flavor profiles in produce, more bakery destination items and a category-management approach that de-emphasizes supplier groupings while creating a more rational category presentation for shoppers. He said the company plans two additional new-format units by the end of this fiscal year. Currently, A&P has 75 Fresh stores under various banners. A&P separately last week said it would give the Federal Trade Commission at least two weeks' notice of its plans to consummate its pending merger with Pathmark Stores, Carteret, N.J., and that such notice would not come before this Friday.
SOUTHERN FAMILY STORES TO SWITCH TO PIGGLY WIGGLY
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Southern Family Markets is set to convert seven stores in Alabama and Mississippi to the Piggly Wiggly banner this week, a spokeswoman for the retailer here told SN. Southern Family, a division of Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers, in August converted six of its Georgia stores to Piggly Wiggly, which will bring the total number of Piggly Wiggly stores operated by Southern Family to 23 after this week's conversions. Southern Family, created as C&S purchased former Bi-Lo and Bruno's stores in 2005, operates 42 stores overall.
GIANT EAGLE WINS APPROVAL FOR BEVERAGE PLANT BUY
PITTSBURGH — A bankruptcy court judge here last week approved a deal that allows Giant Eagle to buy a beverage plant that became available in the Le-Nature's bankruptcy case. As reported previously in SN, Giant Eagle was the high bidder for the Latrobe, Pa., facility, but was found to have acted in bad faith during the bid process. The deal last week awarded the plant to runner-up Cadbury Schweppes, but allowed Cadbury to sell to Giant Eagle. Giant Eagle officials expect the deal will close early next month, reports said.
SUSSER TO ACQUIRE TOWN & COUNTRY IN C-STORE MERGER
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Susser Holdings here said that it has reached an agreement to acquire the parent company of Town & Country Food Stores in a deal combining Southwest convenience store operators. Susser operates 330 convenience stores in Texas and Oklahoma. Town & Country, based in San Leandro, Texas, runs 140 c-stores in Texas and New Mexico. Susser said it would pay $361 million cash for the Town & Country chain, and plans to close the deal in 60 to 90 days.
WHOLE FOODS OPENS ‘MARKET HALL’ STORE IN CALIFORNIA
OAKLAND, Calif. — Whole Foods Market last week opened what it described as a first-of-its-kind “market hall” format store here today, in which shoppers can access all departments in a single loop. “It will not resemble a typical supermarket, or even other Whole Foods Market stores around the country,” the Austin, Texas-based company said in a prepared release. It includes a dine-in venue called Market Bistro and a “Fresh and Wild” station with a juice bar, salads and other offerings. Separately, Whole Foods said it plans to close the original Capers Market location in West Vancouver, British Columbia, according to reports. It is one of four Capers stores in Canada that Whole Foods acquired when it bought Wild Oats. Whole Foods also said it plans to close a Wild Oats in downtown Salt Lake City in late 2009 or early 2010.