Surprise! Publix Super Markets announced in a press release that went out at 9 tonight that it is buying all 10 Martin’s stores that were rumored — never confirmed — to be slated for closure once parent company Ahold merged with Delhaize.
This comes hard on the heels of news earlier today, first reported by Supermarket News, that the merger, valued at $29 billion, was due to be completed at the end of the month upon approval of the Federal Trade Commission.
This means that pesky antitrust issues that had been holding up the deal were resolved — specifically, because the two companies together would create one monolithic grocery company that would include Food Lion, Giant Food, Hannaford (remember that name, folks?), Stop & Shop, as well as the Martin’s chain of stores, at least 80 stores would have to be axed before FTC approval.
It looks like the first 10 dominoes have dropped.
In a news release, Publix chief executive and president Todd Jones says: “Acquiring these 10 locations aligns with Publix’s aggressive growth plan for the commonwealth of Virginia. We are looking forward to providing Virginians with the high-quality service and products our customers have come to expect and have earned us recognition throughout the industry.”
What does this mean for the ever overheated Richmond grocery scene? Publix ventured into the fray when it announced last February that it would build a store on the footprint of what was once going to be a Ukrop’s in Nuckols Place Shopping Center in Glen Allen. The Florida-based chain is employee-owned and known for its great customer service — some Floridian transplants have likened it to Ukrop’s itself.
Now that the company has scooped up 10 stores at once in a single area, it’s thrown the most powerful punch to date in this never-ending grocery store cage match that Richmonders can’t get enough of.