Martin’s official doesn’t expect closures

The future of competing stores once the merger of Martin’s Food Stores is complete should be secure, said a high-ranking official with Ahold, USA, which owns the outgoing chain.

Christopher Brand, Ahold’s External Communications and Public Affairs Lead, said the merger between Ahold, which owns Martin’s, and Dehaize, which is involved in Food Lion, has been approved by shareholders in both companies and the process is now in the hands of the Federal Trade Commission.

Rumors began to circulate that stores in areas such as Richmond and Chesterfield County that Martin’s would have to sell stores that were in markets where they would have to close stores to avoid competing. Those rumors, Brand said, were not true.

“The Federal Trade Commission’s mission to ensure consumers are protected and competition is maintained,” Brand said. “One of the things they want to ensure is there is no one company that can have market dominance. That’s where we are in the process. We don’t anticipate any of the stores to close, it’s about how the store will be divested and sold to another grocer and remain open. We must sell them to another grocer and they must remain open. That’s what the FTC says.”

With the process progressing and in the hands of a federal agency, Brand was not in a position to offer much additional comment, but said he remained confident the merger remained on track for a mid-2016 completion, though things could change on the timetable.

Featured Photo: This Martin’s store in Petersburg is one of many involved in the process of the merger of its parent company with the company that owns Food Lion.

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