MARTIN’S Food Stores’ Future Up In The Air As Merger Looms

VIRGINIA – The future of popular grocery store chain Martin’s remains up in the air as the merger between the store’s parent company, Ahold, and regional chain Food Lion’s parent company, Delhaize, continues to move forward and, a new report is suggestion some stores may be up for sale.

According to a report from Food World, following shareholder approval of the merger earlier the month, both companies have decided to sell “20 Martin’s units in the Richmond area” and “will keep about 45 Food Lion stores open in that market.”

In 2010, the stalwart of Richmond grocery stores Ukrop’s sold its stores to GIANT and Ahold, which eventually became Martin’s Food Stores across the region. GIANT also operates a number of stores across the northeast under different names, including Giant and Stop & Shop.

According to Food Word, “both chains are reportedly offering a combined 83 stores for sale in the Baltimore-Washington, Eastern Shore, Richmond (Central Virginia), Southern Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Lower Hudson Valley and Greater Boston markets,” adding that “ Those stores would seemingly represent an overlap issue for the Federal Trade Commission.”

In a statement on their website at the time of the merger’s announcement, Delhaize Group, operators of Food Lion, said both their company and Ahold, operators of MARTIN’S Food Stores, “intend to combine their business through a merger of equals.”

“The merger will create a complementary base of more than 6,500 stores with 375,000 associates, characterized by trusted brands with strong local identities,” Delhaize Group said, adding that this merger will “accelerate innovation, bringing together both companies’ expertise to deliver increased value and choice for customers across its supermarket formats and online platforms.”

Colonial_Heights_MartinsAlong with Martin’s at least fifteen stores in the Metro-Richmond and Tri-Cities area, Food Lion has at least twelve stores in the Tri-Cities and Chesterfield County area, including several locations in Prince George, Dinwiddie, Colonial Heights, Chesterfield and Petersburg.

In Food World’s report, none of the Food Lion locations within this region were listed as having “potential overlap” issues but, the list does name Martin’s stores in Colonial Heights, Chester, and numerous Richmond stores in overlap concerns.

Some Martin’s stores have recently been announced to be closing in the future or have already shuddered their doors. In July of 2015, the Martin’s store at 7129 Staples Mill Road in Richmond closed, with officials saying the store “has not achieved performance goals” during an “ongoing assessment of the operating performance of our stores.”

Late last year, Martin’s confirmed that their store in the South Crater Square shopping center in Petersburg will closing this summer, along with locations in Mechanicsville and along Stony Point Road in Richmond due to upcoming lease expirations.

Most notably, Martin’s is in the process of replacing it’s aging store at the intersection of Jefferson Davis Highway and Route 10 in Chester with a new state-of-the-art 66,500 square foot facility, slated to be completed in 2016, but this location is also listed as a site of “potentially overlapping stores,” according to Food World’s report.

In a statement, Ahold USA said they “[continue] to work toward the successful completion of the proposed merger between Ahold and the Delhaize Group.”

“The merger is currently under review by the Federal Trade Commission and remains on track for completion in mid-2016,” the company continued. “As part of any merger approval process where there may be store divestitures, store visits may be conducted by potential buyers but it’s too early to speculate on the outcome of the FTC review process.”

It is possible that these stores could be seen as an opportunity for growth by other grocery competitors. In February, Florida-based grocer Publix announced their intentions to establish stores in Virginia, selecting Bristol in Washington County for a 54,000 square feet facility and the Metro-Richmond area of Glen Allen in Henrico for a slightly smaller 49,000 square foot grocery store, telling media they are “looking aggressively to grow,” in the Richmond region and across the Commonwealth.

List of the 20 stores seen as “potentially overlapping,” according to Food World:

253 N. Washington Hwy Ashland, VA
12601 Jefferson Davis Hwy Chester, VA
6401 Centralia Rd. Chesterfield, VA
3107 Boulevard #15 Colonial Heights, VA
40150 Brooke Rd Glen Allen, VA
9645 W. Broad Glen Allen, VA
10250 Staple Mill Rd Glen Allen, VA
13700 Hull Street Rd. Midlothian, VA
200 Charter Colony Pkwy Midlothian, VA
1522 West Cary St. Richmond, VA
10001 Hull St. Rd. Richmond, VA
3460 Pump Rd Richmond, VA
2250 John Rolfe Pkwy Richmond, VA
7045 Forest Hill Ave Richmond, VA
5700 Brook Rd Richmond, VA
7055 Three Chopt Richmond, VA
11361 Midlothian Tpke Richmond, VA
4591 South Laburnum Ave Richmond, VA
5201 Chippenham Crossing Ctr. Richmond, VA
1015 Richmond Ave. Staunton, VA

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