News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE:
 February 4, 2009
CONTACT: Katie McKenna
kmckenna@topsmarkets.com

   
TOPS MARKETS MARKS ONE YEAR SINCE RETURN TO LOCAL MANAGEMENT WITH CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT ANNOUNCEMENT
Between Seven and 10 New Stores to Open Over Next Five Years

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – Tops Friendly Markets, the leading full-service grocery retailer in Western New York, Central New York, including Rochester, and Northwestern Pennsylvania, today revealed plans to open between seven and 10 new stores over the next five years. In addition, each of the 76 current Tops Friendly Markets locations will undergo either minor or extensive renovations as part of a projected $150 million capital improvement plan.

The announcement comes on the heels of Tops marking one year since Morgan Stanley Private Equity acquired the chain. The sale returned local management and operations of Tops to Western New York, where the chain was founded.

Tops expects to finalize construction plans early in 2009.

“We pledged to invest in the markets we serve, to grow and strengthen our position as the largest grocery chain in the region,” said Frank Curci, president and CEO of Tops. “Despite the current worldwide economic struggles, this new construction and renovation announcement shows that we are committed to fulfilling that pledge.

“The new stores we construct will be spread between Buffalo, Rochester and the Central N.Y. area,” Curci said.

In addition to the new store construction, Tops will spend upwards of $150 million to make either major renovations or smaller improvements to all 76 existing stores, with a focus on 60 stores in particular. Tops began that process this fall with a several million-dollar renovation to the store in Olean, located in southwestern New York. In the first quarter of 2009, Tops will spend between $4 million and $5 million to renovate its store on South Park Ave. in Hamburg, N.Y., just outside of Buffalo.

“We knew there was a need to invest in our brand, and we have been working to address the needs of each store in an effort to give our loyal customers a better experience when they shop at Tops,” Curci said.

Curci said that Tops management is focused on making all stores as modern, current and energy efficient as possible.

The sale of Tops to Morgan Stanley Private Equity was completed on Dec. 3, 2007. Since that time, Curci and Tops management and associates have been working on transitioning its operations back to its headquarters in Williamsville, N.Y. Tops pledged to create as many as 140 new jobs at its headquarters, with more than 100 of those positions already filled. Tops signed an agreement with the Empire State Development Corporation to maintain and expand the current headquarters and the company is also leasing additional office space outside of its headquarters to house the increased number of staff.

The return to local management also afforded Tops with the opportunity to partner with businesses and consulting firms in Western New York, who are helping Tops with its daily operations.

“Our new partnerships with local vendors have been very rewarding. And this has allowed Tops to pump an additional $20 million in new money into the local economy just over the past 12 months,” Curci said.

Tops has also placed a local emphasis on its store shelves, Curci indicated. The chain has increased the selection of locally made products available at all stores as a result of new partnerships with area food vendors. In addition, Tops formed strategic partnerships with Tim Hortons, which now has either a full-serve restaurant or self-serve kiosk in every Tops store, and with the Anchor Bar, whose world-famous Buffalo chicken wings are now made and sold at all Tops stores.

“Through all of these changes, we have not lost sight of the equally important need for Tops to be a good neighbor. We continue to work with hundreds of local organizations as part of our long-standing commitment to help to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve,” Curci said. “We appreciate the embrace we have received from our loyal customers. And now, more than ever, Tops pledges to give our shoppers what they want, when they want it, while saving them time and money.”

Tops Markets, LLC, is headquartered in Williamsville, NY and operates 71 full-service supermarkets and five franchise supermarkets. With over 10,000 associates, Tops is the leading full-service grocery retailer in Western New York, Central New York, including Rochester, and Northwestern Pennsylvania. For more information about Tops Markets, visit the company's Web site at www.topsmarkets.com.

 

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