Tops Friendly Markets to Acquire 21 Supermarkets From GU Markets

Tops Friendly Markets, a leading full-service grocery retailer in western New York, central New York, and northwestern Pennsylvania, announced that the company has entered into an agreement with GU Markets LLC, an affiliate of C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., to acquire 21 supermarkets located in upstate New York and Vermont.

This acquisition will bring the number of Tops stores to 153 and will expand Tops’ footprint further into areas of northern and eastern New York State and neighboring northern Vermont. The planned acquisition of the 21 stores follows up on the 2010 acquisition of the Penn Traffic stores.

“We are very excited about this growth opportunity for Tops, especially since these stores are a natural extension of our current footprint,” said Frank Curci, Tops Markets’ president and CEO.  “We are looking forward to having these stores and the surrounding communities become part of the Tops family.”

“We believe this transition makes excellent strategic sense for both organizations,” said Michael Newbold, EVP and Chief Administrative Officer for C&S Wholesale Grocers. “It allows Tops to strengthen its retail network, while C&S will continue to focus on its core business of providing innovative supply and logistics solutions to its wholesale customers.  C&S very much appreciates its deep partnership with Tops and looks forward to the second decade of our relationship.”

For the foreseeable future, current plans call for 20 stores to be operated under their current Grand Union banner, and one store to be operated under its current Bryant’s banner.  There are approximately 600 associates employed at these locations, and Tops will offer all associates continued employment with Tops and operate all 21 stores without any interruption in service upon closing.

“Upon closing, we plan, as we have demonstrated with many of our acquired stores, to invest in those stores and the surrounding communities in an effort to best serve our associates and customers,” said Kevin Darrington, Tops’ chief operating officer.  “We look forward to meeting the needs of our new neighbors and customers, providing them with a positive shopping experience that focuses on variety, freshness, convenience and exceptional value.”

The sale is expected to close by Fall, 2012. The purchase is subject to customary closing conditions.  Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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