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The Buffalo News has an interview with Tops Markets CEO Frank Curci, in which he addresses the challenges facing his company now that it has more than doubled its size by acquiring bankrupt Penn Traffic’s 79-store grocery chain.

Some excerpts:

“We’ve got to get the stores back to their normal condition before we can start making improvements. We plan to [renovate] more stores than fewer. We will have to prioritize and decide what will give people faster returns.”

“As you can imagine, these stores have been capital-starved for years. Right now we’ve got to figure out the condition of the company, then clean up the stores, get them filled with merchandise and [hire more people.]”

“We can’t do everything in one year. Penn Traffic didn’t go into bankruptcy overnight, and the stores aren’t going to be up to our standards overnight, either. There were smart people running the company, but they were in a position where their hands were tied. It’s difficult running a company under bankruptcy. These stores were underinvested in.”
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