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Breaking News Ahold’s Giant Carlisle to acquire Ukrops Supermarkets

Ahold 4:15pm 12/17/2009

The Ukrop’s grocery chain — so very Richmond and known for its family values and small-town customer service — will now be part of a worldwide conglomerate.

And some of its trademark business practices — staying closed on Sundays and not selling beer and wine  will likely change.

Ukrop’s Super Markets Inc., known throughout the retailing world for its customer service, innovative merchandising and creative products, is selling 25 of its stores to the U.S. unit of Dutch supermarket conglomerate Royal Ahold NV .Ahold said it would pay about $140 million for 25 stores and one new location.

The sale means the name on those stores eventually will change to Martin’s Food Markets — probably in a year or two, though no definitive decision has been made as to when, or what the name will be.

And eventually, the stores likely will be open on Sundays and sell beer and wine.

The $140 million deal is expected to be completed in early February.

Employees and managers working at the 25 stores will be kept by the new owners. It’s uncertain what will happen to the approximately 140 employees at the Ukrop’s corporate offices in Henrico County.

The chain’s Joe’s Market in Richmond’s West End — a specialty food market named after the company’s founder — and a store in Fredericksburg will close, unless new owners can be found in the next month or so.

The chain’s signature baked goods and prepared foods will operate as a separate company operated by Bobby Ukrop under Ukrop family ownership

The new business will use the Ukrop’s name on the food products and serve as a supplier to the chain’s new owners — and possibly other grocery retailers. The company already sells some of its food products to a handful of grocers, including Harris Teeter.

Ukrops is selling  25 stores — 24 in the Richmond area, one in Williamsburg and possibly a piece of property in western Henrico County  for a future store- to Ahold’s Giant-Carlisle division, which operates 152 stores in the mid-Atlantic, including 26 stores under the Martin’s Food Markets name. Nine Martin’s stores are in Virginia, including one that opened this year in Culpeper.

It was rumored that the Ukrop’s chain had been rumored to be looking for a buyer since July. But neither company would say yesterday how long they had been talking about a deal.

At this time it is uncertain what will happen to the 140 employees working at the Ukrop’s corporate headquarters. Bobby Ukrop said many of those employees will continue to work for his venture. Giant-Carlisle will maintain some regional operations in Richmond.

It’s also unclear whether the new owners will continue some of the chain’s popular programs and services, including taking groceries out to customers cars, the Golden Gift program, fuelperks! and charitable giving.

Over the next several months, the company will be closely looking at all of Ukrop’s operations — including the name change, opening on Sundays and selling beer and wine — and make decisions based on what they find.

First Market Bank, which is mostly owned by the Ukrop family and the grocery chain, is scheduled to merge with Union Bankshares Corp. during the first quarter.

While the bank has branches inside 23 Ukrop’s stores, the sale will not affect its operations.

 Giant Giant-Carlisle, the Ahold division based in Carlisle, Pa., like Ukrop’s is a non-union operator. It is known for operating large stores focused on variety and everyday low prices under the Giant and Martin’s names in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Ahold is an international supermarket giant, based in Amsterdam with estimated sales around the world in 2006 of $24 billion.

It operates under the banners of  Giant, Giant Foods, Martins and Stop and Shop  in New England.

ukropswilliamsburgva Just last month Ahold announced it was reorganizing and ready to make targeted acquisitions. CEO John Rishton said, "The changes will also allow [Ahold] to devote more time to growth opportunities in existing and new markets."

Trade publication, SuperMarket News recently named Ahold the 8th largest retailer in the U.S..

John Rishton, CEO of Ahold, said, “This acquisition is part of Ahold’s profitable growth strategy. Ukrop’s is a great company with a strong heritage in an attractive market. We believe that Giant-Carlisle and Ukrop’s will be a strong

“We hope it’s perceived as good news in Richmond,“ Ahold Vice President of Corporate Communications Jochem van de Laarschot said from the Netherlands. “We’re absolutely optimistic that we can meet the expectations of customers in Richmond and Virginia.“

Worldwide, Ahold operates supermarkets in the United States and 10 European countries. The firm has 6,500 stores, with 3,500 owned and 3,000 operated through joint ventures. Nearly 142,000 work for the company.


AHOLD Worldwide Operating Divisions:

Giant-Landover, MD. is one of the leading supermarket brands in the mid-Atlantic United States. With  more than 180 supermarkets across three states and the District of Columbia, employing over 22,000 people.
Stop & Shop is one of the leading food retailers in the northeast United States. We operate over 380 stores, throughout seven states, employing approximately 60,000 people.
Giant-Carlisle is one of the leading supermarket brands in the mid-Atlantic United States. They operate nearly 150 stores in four states and employ approximately 27,000 people. Twenty-five stores operate under the name Martin’s Food Markets

Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover also operates Peapod, LLC (“Peapod”), an online grocery delivery service that works in partnership with the Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover operating company. Peapod also services the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sales are included in sales of Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover.
Europe Albert Heijn is the leading food retailer in the Netherlands and one of the country’s best-known brands. Albert Heijn operates more than 820 stores and employs over 70,000 people.

The Albert Heijn operating company includes Etos, Gall & Gall, and the Ahold Coffee Company which produces coffee, mainly for Ahold’s subsidiaries and joint ventures.

Albert and Hypernova are among the best-known food retail brands in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. We operate 300 stores in the Czech Republic and 25 stores in Slovakia and employ over 14,500 people in both countries


2 Responses

  1. How I wish that Wegman’s had purchased Ukrops. I wonder if the services that Ukrop’s provides so well are going to go by the wayside with the name change.

    • We have shopped Martins and Giant stores in the past and had good experiences. Prices were definitely better than Ukrops. I am sure the service level will drop from its current state. Sad that the economy forces things like this to happen.

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