Giant Food Stores (aka Giant-Carlisle) operates nearly 200 supermarkets and superstores under the Giant and Martin's Food Markets banners in Pennsylvania, and in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Not to be confused with its Landover, Maryland-based sister company Giant Food, both firms are divisions of Ahold USA, which operates some 750 supermarkets along the East Coast. Giant Food Stores was founded in 1923 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and acquired by Amsterdam-based Royal Ahold in 1981. As a result of the latest reorganization of its US operations, the grocery company's Dutch parent has positioned Giant Food Stores for growth by separating its support functions from those of its other US chains.
The regional company operates supermarkets, superstores, and convenience stores. Giant Foods Stores accounts for more than 70% of its store count, while Martin's Food Markets operates about 50 supermarkets. Giant to Go is the name of its two-store convenience store chain. The first 4,422-sq.-ft.-store opened in 2009 in Pennsylvania. Giant to Go sells gas, traditional c-store fare (but no beer), and a basic assortment of fresh meat and produce. The company also operates 90-plus fuel stations in four states.
While its Dutch parent company doesn't report sales for its individual chains, its US arm accounted for 60% of its total 2011 sales -- about $25 billion. Giant Food Stores accounts for about a quarter of Ahold USA's store count.
Giant Food Stores is growing by acquisition and the opening of new stores. Ahold -- through Giant-Carlisle -- acquired 15 stores in the Philadelphia area from Safeway-owned Genuardi's Family Markets for $106 million. The deal, which closed in July 2012, followed the purchase of a pair of Genuardi's stores and a larger acquisition of 25 family-owned Ukrop's Super Markets in Virginia. The combined purchases have boosted Giant's presence in region. In 2011 Giant Food Stores opened its first store in the city of Philadelphia and introduced a new, smaller format supermarket in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. The company also added 11 fuel stations in 2011.
With Wal-Mart Supercenters present in the majority Giant's markets, the regional grocery chain has adopted an "everyday-low-price" method of operation to compete with the retail giant and other discounters. The regional grocery chain also debuted its largest, most technologically advanced format in 2005: the 92,000-sq.-ft. Giant Super Food Store. The supermarket is outfitted with hand-held scanners so that customers can bag their own groceries in their carts and keep a running total of their purchases as they shop. Other features include Easy Weigh, which allows shoppers to weigh and price produce and bulk foods, and EasyScan self-checkout stations.
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