Tops Looks Forward to Future Growth
Since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last November, Tops Markets LLC has been busy “getting back up on its feet,” as CEO Frank Curci told The Buffalo News, despite facing at least $55 million in annual interest payments after its reorganization.
Having put any store remodels on hold for the past couple of years, the company has now begun investing in its locations again, having recently rolled out a $40 million renovation plan.
According to Curci, Tops is making up for lost time, aiming to overhaul 10 to 15 stores annually to align with its goal of revamping locations every seven years.
The exec also told the newspaper that not only were there no plans for the grocer to close any more stores – it closed 10 underperforming supermarkets last year as part of its restructuring – but that it was also looking to acquire some locations, although it currently has no deals in the works.
For the time being, the company is adhering to its pre-bankruptcy strategy of adding fuel stations and opening stores within its current footprint, which mostly means smaller stores than the majority of its portfolio, particularly in central New York and the state’s Hudson Valley.
Curci also singled out private label products; such meal solutions as meal kits, prepared foods, grab-and-go items and ready-to-eat products; and value-added services like fruit butchers as particular growth opportunities.
Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops operates 159 supermarkets in New York, northern Pennsylvania, and western Vermont, employing 14,000 associates, with five additional stores operated by franchisees. The company is No. 28 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.