Giant Food Stores (aka Giant-Carlisle) operates 200 supermarkets and superstores under the Giant and Martin's Food Markets banners in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Not to be confused with its Landover, Maryland-based sister company,
, both firms are divisions of
, which operates some 775 supermarkets along the East Coast. Giant Food Stores was founded in 1923 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and acquired by Amsterdam-based Royal Ahold (later renamed
) in 1981. As a result of the latest reorganization of its US operations, the grocery chain's Dutch parent has positioned Giant-Carlisle for growth by separating its support functions from those of its other US chains.
While its ultimate parent company doesn't report sales for its individual chains, the US business accounted for 60% of Royal Ahold's total 2014 sales -- about $21.2 billion. Giant-Carlisle stores made up more than a quarter of Royal Ahold's 768 US stores that year.
The regional grocery chain debuted its largest, most technologically advanced store format back in 2005: the 92,000-sq.-ft. Giant Super Food Store. The supermarket is outfitted with hand-held scanners (SCAN IT! devices) which allow customers to bag their own groceries in their carts and keep a running balance of their purchases as they shop. Customers can also use SCAN IT! on their smartphones. Other features include Easy Weigh, which allows shoppers to weigh and price produce and bulk foods, and EasyScan self-checkout stations.
Giant-Carlisle has sparingly opened new stores over the past few years, though it has. In August 2015, the chain opened a 66,000-square foot store in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (its first in Union County), which would be staffed with 210 employees. Like its other latest stores, the Lewisburg store would allow customers to utilize Giant's SCAN IT! handheld and SCAN IT! mobile technology to scan and bag their own groceries. The mobile app also sends personalized offers -- which helps increase shopper loyalty -- and even tallies grocery totals as customers scan and shop.
The company also continues to add
car-side pick up points at several Giant-Carlisle stores, allowing shoppers to order their groceries online and pick them up at the store without leaving their car. In April 2014 it added the pick up service to its stores serving the Doylestown and Royersford communities in Pennsylvania.
In July 2012 Ahold -- through Giant-Carlisle -- acquired 15 stores in the Philadelphia area from
Genuardi's Family Markets
for $113 million. The deal 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.