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Ahold-owned Stop & Shop/Giant Food released a statement reaffirming its plans “to upgrade Giant stores over the next two years,” a statement that it said was being made “to clarify certain quotes that have been taken out of context recently in the media.”

The stories referenced by Stop & Shop/Giant said that Ahold was considering the closure of some Giant stores in the DC-Baltimore markets. Henk Jen ten Brinke, Ahold’s vice president of investor relations, was quoted as telling the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference that the division has “lost some momentum,” and that some units scheduled for remodeling might instead be closed.

"Our plans to improve the Giant Food store facilities are being expedited," said Marc Smith, President and CEO of The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company/Giant Food. “Giant customers will see some exciting changes in the coming months.”

According to the statement, “Giant customers will see 18 remodeled or replacement Giant stores over the next two years. Where possible, stores will be replaced with a new modern prototype that features the best in design, technology and product selection from both Giant and Stop & Shop. In addition to being larger, the new prototype stores feature more non-grocery departments than a typical Giant store.

“In the upcoming months some Giant stores will temporarily close to allow for the construction of a larger, replacement supermarket, but they will reopen in the same market area as a Giant Food Store,” Smith said. “We have no current plans to permanently close any Giant store operations in any market areas, nor do we plan to convert Giant stores to the Stop & Shop trade name.”

The company noted that four Super G stores in southern New Jersey were closed in August, and that the remaining Super G locations in Southern New Jersey have been converted to the Stop & Shop banner.
KC's View:
It is a measure of the extraordinary image and loyalty cultivated by Giant over the decades that the company felt the need to issue this statement so quickly after the original stories came out.

It seems to us, when we speak to friends in the Baltimore-DC area, that there is a lot of abiding affection for Giant, along with some real disappointment. It is almost like people are rooting for their old Giant to be reborn…which is both challenge and opportunity for Ahold and Stop & Shop.