Price Chopper Eyeing Tops Stores

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Now that Ahold has put its remaining Tops Markets stores up for sale, regional player Price Chopper here is mulling a possible purchase of the locations, president and c.e.o. Neil Golub told Progressive Grocer yesterday.

"We are interested in taking a look at what is available," Golub said. "We'll do our research and we'll decide what to do." Price Chopper's interest in the Top units was first reported by the Albany Business Review earlier this week.
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Tops e.v.p. and g.m. Max Henderson Jr. said in a statement that the company thinks its stores in New York and Pennsylvania would be attractive to a single buyer.

Price Chopper, which operates 115 locations in a six-state market area, bought six Tops stores last year. Several existing Tops stores are close to Price Chopper locations.

Ahold purchased Tops in the early 1990s. The Tops chain, which has over 1,800 associates, consists of 72 stores, most of which are in New York state, with a few in Pennsylvania. Four of its locations operate as Martin's Super Foods stores.

Despite all of the changes on the horizon, Denny Hopkins, the Giant-Carlisle/Tops Arena's v.p. of advertising and marketing, told the Business Review that the company has "no plans to back down on our marketing [of the Tops] stores. We're a strong No. 1 in Buffalo and a strong No. 2 in Rochester, and we have no plans to relinquish those spots. Tops is a very strong and well-known brand."
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