From the Buffalo News:
"Four years after emerging from bankruptcy, Tops Markets is staging a comeback.
"Tops is spending $120 million over four years to update many of its stores in the Buffalo market, where the Amherst-based grocer originated 60 years ago.
"It's a sign of better times for the once debt-strapped company that for the most part put remodeling its stores on hold in 2017 and declared bankruptcy a year later.
"Now, Tops is in a better position. It merged with Price Chopper/Market 32, owned by the Golub family, giving it a more solid financial base. Its latest upgrades are not only improving its look and product offerings, but also updating its technology and reducing electricity costs by using solar farms to provide renewable energy to many of its stores.
The project, which began in 2019, includes renovating 32 of its stores, most of them in Western New York. Twenty-two of them have already been completed, with two more in Buffalo slated to be done this year … These days, the grocer is committing between 5% to 7% of its sales revenue on capital expenditures – one of the highest amounts of any food retailer in the industry, according to Burt Flickinger, the managing director at Strategic Resource Group and an expert in grocery retail … Flickinger said he’s encouraged by the investment, part of what he describes as Tops' 'transformational turnaround out of bankruptcy.' Typically, grocery retailers spend 1% to 2% of sales profits on capital expenditures, he added."
- KC's View:
In totally buy into the idea that Tops now can be more competitive than ever.
But I'm struck by the list of competitors included in the News story - " local powerhouse Wegmans, as well as Walmart, Aldi, Dash's, Save a Lot, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Trader Joe’s, Super Target and Market in the Square, just to name some, and now Costco is coming to the Western New York marketplace."
Not mentioned is Kroger, which has said it plans to enter the northeast with an online-only offering similar to one it is using in Florida and Texas. While Kroger has not been specific about where in the northeast, I keep thinking that it could make a move on western and upstate New York, and then try to bolster its digital-only offer with an attempted acquisition of the Price Chopper-Tops chains.
This is just idle speculation, of course.