Tops Closing Six Stores

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- Tops Markets, based here, said it would shutter six stores in the Adirondacks and in the Utica, N.Y. area, according to a published report. The stores are among the 31 locations put up for sale last summer, most of which have been sold. The chain, a division of Ahold USA-owned Giant Food Stores in Carlisle, Pa, is additionally eliminating 22 administrative support jobs, mainly from its corporate offices.

The closures will take place in about two months, Tops spokesman Danny Hopkins told the Buffalo News. Hopkins also said that the affected workers, none of whom were employed at the supermarket level, would be provided with job-placement assistance. He added that the company expected the layoffs to be "the last of the associate reductions for 2006."

According to Hopkins, Tops also plans to remodel several Buffalo-area stores. Although over the years, many of its jobs were moved to Giant's Carlisle, Pa. headquarters, Tops is now attempting to reduce job duplication. The chain now needs fewer support staffers, due to such factors as store closings in New York state and Ohio.

Tops still hopes to find buyers for the six stores.

In other Ahold USA news, a 59,000-square-foot Super Stop & Shop in Pittsfeld, Mass. will soon undergo a major remodeling, growing by about 11,000 square feet into space recently vacated by adjacent stores.

According to a published report, the renovations, which will include the addition of general merchandise, a toy aisle, more books, and household goods, in addition to a new storefront, a repaved parking lot with improved lighting, and new shelving, refrigeration, flooring, paint, signage, cashier stations, lighting, pavement striping, and landscaping, are expected to be completed by the spring of 2007. Also planned as part of the renovation will be increased space devoted to perishables, including organic and natural items and prepared foods.

The work of expanding the space is scheduled to begin in late March or early April and expected to take three or four months. Afterwards, the store will open and undergo upgrades in sections.

The store is the second in the area to be overhauled by the Stop & Shop division of Ahold USA.
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