A monster among mid-Atlantic grocers, Giant Food (dba Giant-Landover) operates about 175 Giant Food and Super G supermarkets. It's #1 in the Baltimore and Washington, DC, markets; it also operates in the most populous areas of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Most of its supermarkets house full-service pharmacies. Giant Food also operates about a dozen fuel stations as well as its own dairy, beverage bottling, and ice cream plants. Founded in 1936, Giant is owned by Ahold USA, the US arm of Dutch grocer Royal Ahold. Ahold USA owns more than 700 supermarkets in the US, including the New England-based Stop & Shop chain, Giant Food's sister company.
While Royal Ahold doesn't break out sales for its individual grocery chains, Ahold USA accounted for about 60% of its Dutch parent company's $25 billion in sales and 53% of its operating income in 2011. Ahold USA chains are gaining market share in most of their markets and Giant Food is benefitting from growth in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Royal Ahold has reorganized its businesses to position itself for growth. To that end, it separated support functions from its US retail store operations. For Giant Food that led to the outsourcing of its dry grocery warehouse in a bid to streamline the supply chain to allow the company to focus on the sourcing and supplying of its fresh food operations. Fresh food and produce has become a key competitive advantage in the US grocery arena as Americans strive to eat a more healthy diet. Giant's market is no different. The regional grocer is feeling the heat of competition from non-union supermarkets, including Wal-Mart, Food Lion, and Whole Foods Market, as well as newcomers to the Washington, DC metro area (upscale Harris Teeter and Wegmans). While the company trimmed its stores count by half a dozen locations in 2011, in 2012 it bought a pair of Fresh & Green supermarkets in the Baltimore area. In August 2012 it opened a new store in Maryland at the site of a former SuperFresh supermarket. SuperFresh's parent company, A&P, is retrenching in the area and Giant is capitalizing on its retreat. The grocery chain has been closing smaller, older stores and remodeling most of the others. Indeed, the chain recently completed Project Refresh, a three-year program to remodel 100 Giant stores in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the Washington, DC, area. The investment was Royal Ahold's largest since it purchased Giant Food in 1998. The refurbished stores sport bigger produce, specialty food, and general-merchandise sections.
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