Market merger will be good for shoppers

Mark Gutman/Daily News The Federal Trade Commission has approved the merger of Tops Markets and Price Chopper. The approval was announced Monday, clearing the way legally for the two supermarket chains to join.

WILLIAMSVILLE — The Federal Trade Commission has approved the merger of Tops Markets and Price Chopper.

The approval was announced Monday, clearing the way legally for the two supermarket chains to join.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will be managed locally by their respective leaders and will continue under their current identities.

But they will now be owned and overseen by a new parent company called Northeast Grocery, Inc.

Scott Grimmett, the current president and CEO of Price Chopper/Market 32, will lead the new parent company. He will also serve on its board of directors along with former Tops Markets chairman and chief executive officer Frank Curci.

Northeast Grocery, Inc. will be headquartered in Schenectady. Tops will retain its offices in Williamsville, Erie County.

The merger essentially doubles the two supermarket chains’ collective footprint in the Northeast. It will allow them to take greater advantage of economies of scale.

With nearly 300 stores, the merged companies are better positioned to provide increased value for customers; move ahead with shared opportunities for innovation; and fortify the depth of their expanded workforce, community, and trade partnerships, company officials said in a news release.

That’s expected to make them stronger and more competitive.

As part of the deal, 12 Tops Markets stores will be sold to C&S Wholesale Grocers by Jan. 17.

None of the affected stores are in Western New York. They include locations in Central and Northern New York, along with the Adirondacks.

Tops Markets is one of the region’s largest private employers and grocery chains. It employs about 15,000 people and has stores in locations including Albion, Arcade, Attica, Avon, Batavia, Dansville, Le Roy and Warsaw.

As of February — when the merger plans were first announced — Tops Markets Tops Markets operated 162 grocery stores in New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, including five run by franchisees.

Price Chopper/Market 32 operated 130 Price Chopper and Market 32 grocery stores, along with one Market Bistro. The chain employed 18,000 employees in New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

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