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Merger of Stop & Shop, Hannaford concerns local customers
Geoffrey Wilson | Poughkeepsie Journal | June 24, 2015
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An announced merger between the owners of the Stop & Shop and Hannaford supermarket chains has left the future of individual area stores unclear, leaving customers to worry about what it could mean for their shopping needs.

"I would hate to see quality decrease and prices increase," said Tammy Maiello, 47, of Poughkeepsie.

Dutch retailer Royal Ahold NV, which operates U.S. supermarket chains Stop & Shop and Giant, has agreed to merge with its Belgian counterpart Delhaize Group, which operates Hannaford and Food Lion.

There are eight Stop & Shop locations within a 20-mile radius of Poughkeepsie, including three along Route 9 between Wappingers Falls and Hyde Park. There are 10 Hannaford locations within that radius, four in Dutchess County.

The companies have indicated that the grocery stores could maintain their respective brands, and the stores would not necessarily need to consolidate.

"It is important to note that Ahold and Delhaize have highly complementary geographic footprints and that the merged company would continue to operate strong, local banners," said Michael Norton, director of external communication and community relations with Hannaford. "Customers value local brands and local associates who serve them."

One possible issue that may arise from the merger is the proximity of Stop & Shop to Hannaford on Route 9 in Wappingers Falls, said David Livshin, CEO and president of Dagar Group leasing and management company in Fishkill.

"They're not even a mile away from each other," he said.

However, Livshin said it was unclear what would be the best course of action for the company to take. The stores have many similarities; both are traditional supermarkets with similar departments, but the stores' layouts are designed differently.

Rather than consolidate, Livshin said it would make the most sense for the stores to rebrand, with Hannaford and Stop & Shop distinguishing themselves to avoid competition.

As a frequent shopper at Hannaford, Maiello worried that the merger, and a decrease in competition, would raise prices.

"I feel Hannaford prices are reasonable for the most part, (and I) would hate to see the prices skyrocket," Maiello said.

The possibility of store closures also concerned customers.

"As long as they don't close our (Stop & Shop) at the Poughkeepsie Plaza, it doesn't really matter much," said Patricia Laubacker, 45, of Poughkeepsie. "Of course, if it drove down prices a little, that would be great."

The deal creates a $29 billion company that will serve over 50 million customers a week across the Atlantic.

The all-shares merger, which will lead to the formation of a single company called Ahold Delhaize with more than 6,500 stores, is expected to be completed in mid-2016, subject to regulators' and shareholder approval, the companies said Wednesday in a joint press release.

"This is a true merger of equals, combining two highly complementary businesses to create a world-leading food retailer," Jan Hommen and Mats Jansson, the chairmen of Ahold and Delhaize said.

The two retailers had combined sales last year of 54.1 billion euros ($60.6 billion). Ahold chief executive officer Dick Boer will become CEO of the merged company, while Delhaize CEO Frans Muller will be his deputy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Geoffrey Wilson: gwilson@poughkeepsiejournal.com, 845-437-4882, Twitter: @PoJoGeoffWilson

Dutchess County locations

Hannaford

  • 152 Stringham Road, LaGrangeville.
  • 35 Hannaford Lane, Red Hook
  • 1490 Route 9, Wappingers Falls
  • 162 Route 22, Pawling

Stop & Shop

  • 727 Beekman Road, Hopewell Junction
  • 6734 Route 9, Rhinebeck
  • 59 Burnett Blvd., Poughkeepsie
  • 3999 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park
  • 2540 Route 9, Poughkeepsie
  • 1357 Route 9, Wappingers Falls