Giant Eagle has its talons firmly wrapped around parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The grocery chain, a market leader in Pittsburgh and eastern Ohio, operates about 175 company-owned stores and 50-plus franchised supermarkets, as well as about 160 GetGo convenience stores (which feature fresh foods and sell gas at discounted prices through the fuelperks! program). The regional chain also has stores in Maryland and West Virginia. Many Giant Eagle stores feature video rental, banking, photo processing, dry cleaning services, and ready-to-eat meals. Executive chairman David Shapira is the grandson of one of the men who founded the company in 1931. The founders' families own Giant Eagle.
In addition to its Giant Eagle supermarkets and GetGo convenience stores, the company operates a number of secondary formats: five upscale Market District stores in Pittsburgh, two Giant Eagle Express stores, and about a half a dozen Valu King outlets. GetGo, launched about a decade ago, is a growth vehicle for Giant Eagle. In addition to gas and food the fast-growing convenience store chain offers WetGo car washes, DVD rentals, and ATM machines.
Giant Eagle is indeed a giant among regional grocery chains, with about $9.3 billion in annual sales.
Responding to tough economic times and increased competition from discounters, Giant Eagle launched a private-label-focused discount format, Valu King, in 2008. Taking a page from the limited assortment chains ALDI and Save-A-Lot, Valu King stores carry only about 3,000 supermarket items, including grocery, meat, and produce, as well as personal-care and pet supplies. (A typical Giant Eagle store carries between 20,000 and 60,000 items.) The fledgling chain has about a half a dozen locations in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Valu King will enter the Pittsburgh market in 2012, where it will compete head-to-head with Delhaize America's Bottom Dollar Food chain. At the other end of the price and service spectrum, the company operates five upscale Market District stores in Pittsburgh that cater to urban foodies with fresh and locally sourced produce, natural and organic foods, and specialty items and prepared foods. Besides experimenting with new formats, Giant Eagle has restructured and cut prices on popular items, such as produce, chicken, ground beef, and prescription medication. The grocery chain's Savings Squad program has slashed prices an average of 23% on 100-plus frequently purchased items. The company's goal is to grow its food and drug sales through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth. To that end, it acquired five former Penn Traffic stores in western Pennsylvania from TOPS Markets in 2010.