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Tops Buys 21 Stores From C&S

Tops Buys 21 Stores From C&S

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — Tops Friendly Markets here last week agreed to acquire 21 supermarkets in upstate New York and Vermont — mostly under the Grand Union banner — from GU Family Markets, an affiliate of C&S Wholesale Grocers.

“These are small stores, with relatively small volumes, but they are good performers,” Frank Curci, president and chief executive officer, Tops, told SN.

He said the stores, which average about 20,000 square feet and are often located in “one-store towns,” would retain the Grand Union banner on 20 locations and the current Bryant’s name on another.

The stores — some of which previously had been operated by Tops when that chain was owned by Ahold — are located adjacent to Tops’ current footprint, Curci noted. The acquisition will bring the number of Tops stores to 153.

More Tops news: Tops Plans Syracuse Store

Tops is not acquiring four stores at the easternmost edge of GU’s operating area, Curci said.

He pointed out that Tops had temporarily left the previous names on the stores it acquired in 2010 from Penn Traffic before eventually converting them to Tops. “We’ll see as time goes on,” he said about the banners on the stores.

The Grand Unions would continue to be supplied from C&S’ eastern facilities, rather than from Tops’ warehouse facilities in Buffalo. They would also retain their current private-label programs, Curci said.

Terms of the acquisition, which is set to close by this fall, were not disclosed.

More Tops news: Tops Buys N.Y. Independent

C&S, which is the wholesale supplier to Tops, recently completed the sale of another retail affiliate, Southern Family Markets, to Belle Foods of Birmingham, Ala.

Michael Newbold, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for C&S, Keene, N.H., said in a prepared release that the sale to Tops “makes excellent strategic sense for both organizations” as it allows C&S to focus on its core wholesale supply operations.

Curci said Tops was more likely to invest in refurbishing the stores than C&S had been.

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