Giant Food Stores (aka Giant-Carlisle) operates about 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, Giant Food, both firms are divisions of Ahold USA, 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 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.
The regional grocery chain operates supermarkets, superstores, and a pair of convenience stores. Giant accounts for nearly 75% 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. Giant-Carlisle also operates 100 fuel stations in four states.
While its parent company doesn't report sales for its individual chains, the US business accounted for 61% of Royal Ahold's total 2012 sales -- about $27 billion. Giant-Carlisle accounts for about a quarter of its US stores. The addition of 15 new stores in mid-2012 contributed $165 million to Giant-Carlisle's annual net sales.
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. The company also added Peapod pick-up points at several Giant-Carlisle stores, that allow shoppers to order their groceries online and pick them up at the store.
Giant-Carlisle is growing its store count through acquisitions and the opening of new stores. It opened several new stores in 2013, following the purchase of 15 stores in the Philadelphia area in 2012. The company also added about 10 fuel stations in 2012.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Ahold -- through Giant-Carlisle -- acquired 15 stores in the Philadelphia area from Safeway-owned Genuardi's Family Markets for $113 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.