The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company
Overview
 
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, better known as A&P, is a supermarket
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

 and liquor store chain in the United States. Its supermarkets, which are under six different banner
Banner
A banner is a flag or other piece of cloth bearing a symbol, logo, slogan or other message. Banner-making is an ancient craft.The word derives from late Latin bandum, a cloth out of which a flag is made...

s, are found in Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, and Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

. A&P's liquor stores, known as Best Cellars, are found in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. A&P's corporate headquarters are in Montvale, New Jersey
Montvale, New Jersey
Montvale is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 7,844.Montvale was incorporated as a borough on August 31, 1894, from portions of Orvil Township and Washington Township, at the height of the "Boroughitis" craze then...

. Supermarket News ranked A&P #19 in the 2010 "Top 75 Food Retailers and Wholesalers" based on 2009 fiscal year estimated sales of $9.1 billion.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, better known as A&P, is a supermarket
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

 and liquor store chain in the United States. Its supermarkets, which are under six different banner
Banner
A banner is a flag or other piece of cloth bearing a symbol, logo, slogan or other message. Banner-making is an ancient craft.The word derives from late Latin bandum, a cloth out of which a flag is made...

s, are found in Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, and Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

. A&P's liquor stores, known as Best Cellars, are found in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. A&P's corporate headquarters are in Montvale, New Jersey
Montvale, New Jersey
Montvale is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 7,844.Montvale was incorporated as a borough on August 31, 1894, from portions of Orvil Township and Washington Township, at the height of the "Boroughitis" craze then...

. Supermarket News ranked A&P #19 in the 2010 "Top 75 Food Retailers and Wholesalers" based on 2009 fiscal year estimated sales of $9.1 billion. Based on 2009 revenue, A&P is the 34th largest retailer in the U.S. For 60 years through 1975, it was the largest food retailer in the nation (until 1965, the largest US retailer of any kind). A&P is considered an American icon
Icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

. The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial
Editorial
An opinion piece is an article, published in a newspaper or magazine, that mainly reflects the author's opinion about the subject. Opinion pieces are featured in many periodicals.-Editorials:...

 on December 10, 2010, said that "A&P was as well known as McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 or Google
Google
Google Inc. is an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program...

 is today" and that A&P was "Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public multinational corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000...

 before Wal-Mart."

The company entered the tea business about 1860 and established a small chain of retail tea and coffee stores in New York City and a national mail order business. Beginning in the 1870's, A&P became the first multi-state chain and by 1878 operated 70 stores. During the next two decades, A&P became the first grocery chain when it expanded its product lines beyond tea and coffee. By the turn of the century, it operated almost 200 stores. The company's dramatic growth started in 1912 when it introduced the economy store concept and operated 1600 stores by 1915. After WWI, the company opened combination stores that included meats and produce. By 1930 the company's 16,000 stores reached $1 billion in sales and the company was the largest retailer in the world. In 1936, A&P adopted the self serve supermarket concept and operated 4000 of the larger stores by 1950.

The company's decline began in the 1950s and 1960s when it failed to keep pace with other chains when they opened larger second and third generation super markets with expanded features demanded by customers. By the 1970s, the company's stores were out of date and its efforts to combat high operating costs resulted in poor customer service. In 1975, the company hired outside management and launched a major program to close old stores and build modern units. When these efforts failed to turn the company around, the heirs of the original owners and foundations that owned a majority of the stock sold to the German Tengelmann Group
Tengelmann Group
Tengelmann Warenhandelsgesellschaft KG, doing business as the Tengelmann Group, is a holding company based in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany.-Structure:The corporation has the following subsidiaries:*A&P Tea Company ; 362 stores...

. The company launched a massive closing program financed by the surplus assets of its pension plan.

Starting in 1982, the company acquired a number of other chains and operated through their trade names rather than A&P. While the company regained profitability in the 1980s, by 2002 the company was operating at a record loss because of new competition, especially Wal-Mart. The company launched another closing program that included the sale of its large Canadian division. In 2007, A&P purchased Pathmark, one of its toughest competitors and again became the largest food chain in the New York area. Highly leveraged after this acquisition, the company experienced financial difficulties because of the recession and filed for protection under the bankruptcy code in 2010. A&P is now implementing a restructuring plan to emerge from bankruptcy.

1860 - 1900

The forerunner of A&P was founded in the 1850s as Gilman & Company by George Gilman
George Gilman
George Gilman founded The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company in 1859 along with George Huntington Hartford. He retired from the company in 1878....

 (1826 - 1901) to continue his father's leather tanning business; in 1858 the firm's address was 98 Gold Street in Manhattan. Gilman's father died in 1859, leaving Gilman wealthy. Around 1860, Gilman & Company entered the tea and coffee business from the same location. One source speculates that Gilman decided to enter a more respectable business in light of his wealth. By May 1861, Gilman turned over the tanning business to his brother Winthrop and moved his tea business to 129 Front Street. Initially, the firm was a wholesaler. In early 1863 the firm entered the retail trade under the name Great American Tea Company. Quickly, the firm opened five store fronts and moved its office and warehouse to 51 Vesey Street
Vesey Street (Manhattan)
Vesey Street is a street in New York City that runs east-west in Lower Manhattan. The street is named after Rev. William Vesey , the first rector of nearby Trinity Church....

.

Gilman proved to be a master at promotion and the business quickly expanded by advertising low prices. The firm was able to achieve low prices by acting as both the wholesaler and retailer. Gilman also built a nationwide mail order business. By 1866, the firm was valued at more than $1 million for tax purposes. In 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed and Gilman started to use a new trade name, the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company to market the then novel concept of prepackaged tea under the Thea-Nector brand. The firm continued to use the Great American name for the mail order business. By 1871, the firm introduced another novel marketing concept when it offered premiums with the purchase of coffee and tea at its stores.

George Huntington Hartford
George Huntington Hartford
George Huntington Hartford founded The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company in 1859 with George Gilman in Elmira, New York.He was born in Augusta, Maine...

 (1833 - 1917) joined Gilman & Company as a clerk by 1861 and won promotions to bookkeeper, and finally cashier by 1866. Contrary to the founding myth promoted by his sons, Hartford was not a founder of the firm and had no known role in Gilman's marketing promotions that allowed the firm to quickly expand. However, by 1871 Hartford was in a position of authority and was responsible for expanding the business into Chicago after the great fire. A&P's first store outside of New York was opened within days after the disaster. The firm quickly expanded and by 1875 the tea company had shops in sixteen cities. In 1878, Gilman left the active management of the firm to Hartford. By then, the firm operated 70 lavishly equipped stores and a mail order business with combined annual sales of $1 million.

To raise revenue, Congress significantly raised tariffs on tea and coffee. Profits on these products declined and about 1880 A&P also started to sell sugar in its stores. The company continued aggressive growth and by 1884 operated stores as far west as Kansas City and south as Atlanta. The company also operated wagon routes to serve rural customers. About this time, two of Mr. Hartford's sons, George Ludlum Hartford
George Ludlum Hartford
George Ludlum Hartford was an executive with the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company and successor to his father, George Huntington Hartford with brother John Augustine Hartford...

 (1864 - 1957) and John Augustine Hartford
John Augustine Hartford
John Augustine Hartford was an executive with the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company and ran the company with his brother George Ludlum Hartford after the death of their father, George Huntington Hartford. Hartford ran the business operations side of the empire, while his brother George ran...

 (1872 - 1951) joined the firm. Company lore is that John convinced his father to expand the product line to include A&P branded baking powder. Over the next decade, the company added other A&P branded products such as condensed milk, spices, and butter. As it expanded its offerings, the tea company was gradually creating the first grocery chain. By the end of the century, the firm had sales of $5 million from 198 stores as well as its mail order and wagon route operations. However, other new grocery chains were expanding more rapidly and blanketing their respective territories while the tea company's stores were spread over a much larger area. The firm quickly found itself at a disadvantage.

1900 - 1950

In 1901, George Gilman died without a will, starting a legal battle among his numerous heirs. Mr. Hartford stepted into the battle by asserting that in 1878, Gilman give him half of the company in a unwritten partnership agreement. Evidence provided to the court established that Hartford received half of A&P's profits since 1878 and that all of the company's leases were in his name. The heirs realized that without Hartford, the firm would quickly become unprofitable. Therefore, they agreed to a settlement where the company was incorporated at $2.1 million. Under this agreement, the Gilman heirs received $1.25 million in preferred shares paying 6% per year while Hartford received $700,000 in common stock and the remainder of the preferred shares. This gave Hartford control of all of the voting stock. Over the years, Hartford was also able to repurchase the preferred shares from the Gilman heirs. At the end of the litigation, A&P only ranked fifth nationally and the Hartfords moved aggressively to rebuild the enterprise. The chain opened one store every three weeks and expanded the wagon routes to over 5000. A new nine story headquarters and warehouse was built in Jersey City and later expanded to include a manufacturing plant and bakery.

In 1907 or 1908, George Hartford Sr. divided management responsibilities among his sons with George Jr. controlling finance and John directing sales and operations. The two ran the company as a team for over 40 years. The younger Hartford moved aggressively to adopt the now-familiar A&P brand and dramatically increase the number of items available. To free up space for the new items, A&P replaced in-store premiums with S&H Green Stamps
S&H Green Stamps
S&H Green Stamps were trading stamps popular in the United States from the 1930s until the late 1980s. They were distributed as part of a rewards program operated by the Sperry and Hutchinson company , founded in 1896 by Thomas Sperry and Shelly Hutchinson...

. By 1912, A&P operated 400 stores and averaged a 22% gross margin resulting in a 2% profit.

Food prices were a political issue in that year's presidential race and a few chains experimented with a low cost no frills format. After long debate, the elder Hartford and his first son, George agreed to John's proposal to experiment with a low cost economy store designed to operate at a 12% gross margin. Capitalized at only $3,000 including its initial inventory, the store operated with only a manager and eliminated fancy fixtures and premiums. Within two months, weekly sales increased to $800 and the store achieved a 30% annual return on investment. The company quickly expanded the concept and by 1915 the chain operated 1600 stores. A&P's tremendous growth created problems with supplers. Cream of Wheat
Cream of Wheat
Cream of Wheat is a porridge-type breakfast food invented in 1893 by wheat millers in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The cereal is currently manufactured and sold by B&G Foods. Until 2007, it was the Nabisco brand made by Kraft Foods. It is similar in texture to grits, but made with farina instead...

 was the largest breakfast food and the company demanded that all retailers adhere to the company's pricing of 14 cents per box. A&P qualified to purchase the product at wholesale of 11 cents per box and decided that a one cent mark-up was appropriate for its economy store format. Cream of Wheat cut off supplies and A&P sued. The court ruled against A&P stated that a manufacturer could establish retail prices. As a result, A&P and other large chains significantly expanded manufacturing their own private brands.

George Hartford Sr. died in 1917 and left his estate to a one generation trust equally divided among his five children. The Trust was administered by his sons George and John who exercised control over the company's stock. As a result, the company's leadership remained constant until the two brothers died in the 1950s.

After World War I, A&P rapidly expanded again and by 1925 operated 13,961 stores. The new combination stores were larger to include space for meats, produce and dairy as well as traditional grocery items. Sales reached $400 million and profit was $10 million. However John Hartford was concerned that gross margins had reached 22% to cover higher costs and that the chain had lost its low cost discipline. At the beginning of 1926, the brothers discussed the situation with division management and launched a program to lower prices and improve cost controls. That year, sales increased 32% and the company moved its headquarters to the new Graybar Building adjacent to Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal —often incorrectly called Grand Central Station, or shortened to simply Grand Central—is a terminal station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States...

 in New York. In 1927, A&P established a division in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and in two years operated stores in 200 communities in Ontario and Quebec. By 1930 the company's 16,000 stores reached $1 billion resulting in a 25% market share in the areas it operated and about 10% nationwide. No retail company had ever achieved these results. A&P was twice as large as Sears and Roebuck, the next largest retailer, and four times as large as Kroger
Kroger
The Kroger Co. is an American supermarket chain founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It reported US$ 76.7 billion in sales during fiscal year 2009. It is the country's largest grocery store chain and its second-largest grocery retailer by volume and second-place general retailer...

, the next largest grocer. Unlike most of its competitors, A&P was in excellent position to weather the depression. The Hartford's built their chain without borrowing and their low price format resulted in even higher sales. From 1929 through 1932, A&P reported a record $110 million in after tax profits and each of the five Hartford children earned over $5 million per year in dividends and equity.

A&P's success caused a backlash that threatened to destroy the company. The food industry included thousands of Mom-and-pop grocery stores that could not match A&P's prices. While small operators had little political clout, they were supplied by approximately 14,000 wholesale distributors who had considerable political influence. Anti-chain store movements gained some traction in the 1920s, but became significantly stronger during the depression. In 1935, Texas Congressman Wright Patman
Wright Patman
John William Wright Patman was a U.S. Congressman from Texas in Texas's 1st congressional district and chair of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency .-Early life:...

 introduced legislation that placed a significant federal tax on each chain store. If adopted, this legislation would have put A&P out of business. While this legislation did not move in congress, in 1936 Patman sponsored the Robinson-Patman Act
Robinson-Patman Act
The Robinson–Patman Act of 1936 is a United States federal law that prohibits anticompetitive practices by producers, specifically price discrimination. It grew out of practices in which chain stores were allowed to purchase goods at lower prices than other retailers...

 that made it illegal to charge different prices to similar customers. Patman then reintroduced his anti-chain store tax. A&P retained a lobbyist and dropped its opposition to unionizing activities of the politically powerful American Federation of Labor
American Federation of Labor
The American Federation of Labor was one of the first federations of labor unions in the United States. It was founded in 1886 by an alliance of craft unions disaffected from the Knights of Labor, a national labor association. Samuel Gompers was elected president of the Federation at its...

. George and John Hartford also took the unusual step of publishing a long letter pointing out that the effect of Patman's legislation would be a significant increase of food prices. The tide of public opinion turned against the bill.

The earliest supermarket
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

 opened in California before the concept came east. In 1930, Michael Kullen, opened his first King Kullen
King Kullen
King Kullen Grocery Co. is an American supermarket chain with 45 stores, on Long Island and Staten Island. The company is headquartered in Bethpage, New York and was founded by Michael J. Cullen in 1930. It is notable for its title of "America's First Supermarket" as recognized by the Smithsonian...

 supermarket in Queens County, New York. Two years later, Big Bear opened in Elizabeth, New Jersey and quickly equaled the sales of 100 A&Ps. A&P held back and in 1933, sales dropped 19% to $820 million. Finally the brothers agreed to experiment with 100 new supermarkets and the first unit was opened in Braddock, Pennsylvania
Braddock, Pennsylvania
Braddock is a borough located in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 10 miles upstream from the mouth of the Monongahela River. The population was 2,159 at the 2010 census...

. The new stores proved to be very successful and by 1938, the chain operated 1,100 of the new supermarkets. The chain continued to build new stores so that by 1950 A&P operated 4,000 supermarkets and 500 smaller combination stores. Sales reached $3.2 billion with an after tax profit of $32 million.

A&P's success attracted the attention of President Roosevelt's anti-trust chief, Thurman W. Arnold, who was urged to investigate A&P by Congressman Patman. By 1941, the military placed many large companies off limits to the anti-trust division because of defense priorities, leaving the food chains as one of the remaining targets. The next year, A&P and its senior executives including the Hartford brothers were criminally charged for restraint of trade in Dallas, Texas federal court. However, by 1944 prosecutors withdrew the complaint realizing that the Dallas federal judge thought the case was weak. The same day, new charges were filed in Danville, Illinois and were assigned Federal Judge Walter Lindley. The prosecution complained that A&P had a unfair competitive advantage because its vertical integration including manufacturing, warehousing and retailing allowed it to charge lower prices. Prosecutors also complained that A&P refused to buy from food companies that insisted on selling through brokers or refused to give A&P advertising allowances. They contended that if unchecked, A&P would drive all competition out of business. The company countered that its market share was only in the 15% range and that its low cost strategy had resulted in a significant improvement in that nation's nutrition and standard of living. Judge Lindley agreed with the government and fined each of the defendants $10,000.

In 1949, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld Lindley's decision and A&P decided not to further appeal. That September, the anti-trust division asked the court to order the spin off of A&P's manufacturing operations and the break up of A&P's retail operations into seven independent companies. Thousands of letters poured into the Justice Department supporting the company and the Hartford brothers gave extensive interviews with Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

which put them on the magazine's November 13, 1950 cover. Time wrote that, next to General Motors, A&P sold more goods than any other company in the world. John was quoted as saying "I don't know any grocer who wants to stay small. I don't see how any businessman can limit his growth and stay healthy". The case dragged on until the more business friendly Eisenhower Administration. In late 1953, the government agreed to drop its demands to break up the company if A&P shut down its produce brokerage that supplied competitors as well as A&P.

1950 - 1975

In 1951, John Hartford died suddenly in the Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Standing at , it was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State...

 while returning from a meeting of the auto maker's board. His older brother remained as A&P's Chairman and Treasurer and appointed the company's long time Secretary, Ralph Burger as the new President. While Berger started with the company in 1910 as a clerk in the Glen Falls, New York store, he was a strong staffer who lacked John Hartford's strategic marketing skills. Under Berger, A&P continued to report record sales and operated at an expense ratio of only 12.6% of sales when the industry average was 15%. Burger was also the President of the Hartford Foundation, assuring his control of the company when George died in 1957. George Hartford Senior's trust was dissolved and the company's stock was listed on the New York Exchange at an opening price of $59. For the first time, the company also elected six outside directors on the board. In late 1961, the stock peaked at $70 and then started a gradual decline.

The seeds for A&P's 50 year fall from the world's largest retailer to a relatively small regional food chain and bankruptcy were planted in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • A&P was starved of capital. While the company was publicly traded, control rested with Ralph Burger, who headed both the corporation and the Hartford Trust. Most of the company's profits were declared as dividends to satisfy the income needs of the Trust and heirs. The company also remained opposed to debt financing and the only source for capital was the depreciation account. While other chains invested in larger second and third generation supermarkets, A&P was slow to update its retail capital plant. Within a decade, A&P stores were considerably smaller and older than the competition.

  • A&P placed too much emphasis on private label products. In 1951, the Supreme Court ruled that manufacturers could not establish minimum prices unless the retailer agreed to the arrangement. This decision launched a revolution in discount retailing fueled by the rapid increase in television advertising that raised demand for national brands. Contrary to this trend, A&P invested substantial amounts of its scarce capital to expand manufacturing including $25 million to construct the world's largest food plant in Horseheads, New York. Because A&P's stores were smaller, private label dominated its shelves and customers found that national brands were too often out of stock.

  • A&P's labor costs were higher than most competitors. Because A&P stopped growing, a higher proportion of its work force was in the higher wage brackets due to their seniority. This was not a problem in most of A&P's competitors because they were rapidly expanding and had relatively fewer workers with seniority. To offset higher labor costs, A&P tried to operate stores with fewer employees, resulting in long lines at check outs and empty shelves.


Burger attempted to reverse downward tonnage figures by reintroducing trading stamps and created the company's own program known as plaid stamps. However, by late 1962 the initial sales gains evaporated and the six outside directors threaten to resign unless Burger retired. When he left the company in May 1963, the stock traded in the $30 to $40 range.

Berger was replaced with a succession of Presidents who were unable to stem the downward spiral. In 1971, the board turned to William J. Kane who started with the company in 1934 as a full time store clerk and worked his way up the ranks. Kane believed that the company could be turned around by focusing on basic store operations including cleanliness, product availability, customer service and courtesy. When his program stalled, he implemented a strategy to substantially cut prices by converting the chain to a warehouse store concept that became known as WEO (Where Economy Originates). The problem was that at least half of the stores were not large enough to properly implement the program and losses quickly mounted. By the beginning of 1973, the stock dropped to $17 and Charles Bluhdorn
Charles Bluhdorn
Charles Blühdorn was a Vienna, Austria-born American industrialist.-Biography:Per a Who's Who in Ridgefield he was considered such a "hellion" that his father sent the 11-year-old to an English boarding school for disciplining...

 of Gulf+Western
Gulf+Western
Gulf and Western Industries, Inc., for a number of years known as Gulf+Western, was an American conglomerate.- History :Gulf and Western's prosaic origins date to a manufacturer named Michigan Bumper Co. founded in 1934, though Charles Bluhdorn treated his 1958 takeover of what was then Michigan...

 made tender offer at $20 per share. Kane rejected the offer, but at least some stockholders thought that the offer was attractive considering the company's continuing difficulties.

1975 - 2000

The board retained Booz-Allen to develop a plan to turn the company around. In February 1975, the plan proposed the closure of 36% of the chain's 3,468 stores. Kane agreed to resign and was replaced by Jonathan Scott, the 44-year-old President of the successful Albertson's chain. By then, A&P's headquarters had moved to a new office complex in Montvale, New Jersey
Montvale, New Jersey
Montvale is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 7,844.Montvale was incorporated as a borough on August 31, 1894, from portions of Orvil Township and Washington Township, at the height of the "Boroughitis" craze then...

. Scott implemented the Booz-Allen plan by closing 1500 stores in three years reducing the chain to 1,978 units. He hired numerous executives from other companies and pushed authority down to the regional level. The company built its first combination grocery-drug stores, purchased 62 stores in Chicago from National Tea, and spruced up many older units including a new logo. Scott continued Kane's efforts to improve basic store operations including cleanliness and customer service and instituted a large training program. By the end of 1977, weekly per store sales increased from $37,000 to over $70,000 and total sales increased from $6.4 billion to $7.2 billion despite the large store closing program. Manufacturing was also reorganized and older plants closed. While initial results were promising, by 1978 the company profits started to slide backward again due to economic conditions caused by high inflation.

With the share price down to $7, the Hartford Foundation finally came to the conclusion that it could no longer wait for a turn around and Erivan Haub
Erivan Haub
Erivan K. Haub is the former manager and partial owner of Tengelmann Group, one of Germany's largest retailers.- Biography :Erivan Haub was born 29 September 1932 in Wiesbaden...

, owner of the German Tengelmann
Tengelmann Group
Tengelmann Warenhandelsgesellschaft KG, doing business as the Tengelmann Group, is a holding company based in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany.-Structure:The corporation has the following subsidiaries:*A&P Tea Company ; 362 stores...

 expressed interest. Born in 1930, Haub studied retailing in the United States after the war and built the family's grocery business into a 2000 store chain with annual sales of $2 billion. He still lived in the United States for part of the year and his children were born in America. He agreed to pay $7.375 per share for 42% of the A&P's stock and ultimately increased his holdings to over 50%. Scott did not renew his five year contract and Haub hired James Wood to become Chairman. Wood, an Englishman who was the same age as Haub, previously ran the Grand Union supermarket chain that competed against A&P. Many executives recruited by Scott left the company and were replaced by Wood's associates from Grand Union.

In Germany, Tangelmann had considerable success with PLUS stores
Plus (supermarket)
Plus was a German supermarket chain founded in 1972. It operated 2,840 stores in Germany with an approximate 27,000 employees and about 1,200 stores in several other European countries...

 that were smaller units featuring low price private label products along with a limited assortment of meats and produce. A&P opened several divisions of PLUS stores in the United States to take advantage of the company's manufacturing plants and numerous small stores. However, the program quickly failed to win American customers who were attracted to other chains offering low prices on national brands.

In October 1981, the company announced a massive program to close all but about 1,000 stores and the coffee plants. Under the plan, whole divisions including Chicago were shuttered along with the Horseheads plant and numerous other manufacturing facilities. To finance this program, the company planned to terminate its non union pension plan and use its $200 million surplus. The plan's obligations were covered by annuities that cost only about $130 million because of the high interest rates at that time. Going forward, the company's non union employees were covered by a defined contribution 401K plan. William Walsh, a recently retired executive, filed a class action that was ultimately settled by increasing the value of the annuities. The company still realized over $200 million and was not required to pay taxes because of tax loss carry forwards from previous closing programs.

The Philadelphia division was also slated to close unless the unions agreed to contract concessions. When the unions refused, the company started implementing the plan. The unions offered to purchase the stores, but realized that they did not have the capital required. As an alternative, they agreed to a profit sharing arrangement if the company formed a new subsidiarity and operated under a different name. The new Super Fresh
Super Fresh
Super Fresh is a chain of supermarkets owned by A&P, which introduced the banner in 1982, converting its Mid-Atlantic region's stores to the new name. Super Fresh's 24 stores are mostly in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, plus Delaware and southern New Jersey...

 operation proved profitable and company realized that the A&P name itself was no longer an asset in many trading areas.

In 1982, Stop & Shop
Stop & Shop
The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company is a chain of supermarkets located mostly in the northeastern United States. Its main rivals are Shaw's Star Market and Hannaford in New England, while ShopRite and the A&P family of supermarkets are its main competition in New York and New Jersey.- History :Stop...

 exited New Jersey (it would return in the late 1990s), and A&P purchased most of these stores to replace obsolete A&P stores. In 1983, A&P bought Kohl's Food Stores (originally part of the Kohl's
Kohl's
Kohl's Corporation is an American department store chain headquartered in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, operating , 1,089 stores in 49 states. In 1998, it entered the S&P 500 list, and is also listed in the Fortune 500...

 department store chain) in Wisconsin from BATUS
British American Tobacco
British American Tobacco p.l.c. is a global tobacco company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world’s second largest quoted tobacco company by global market share , with a leading position in more than 50 countries and a presence in more than 180 countries...

 enabling A&P to reenter Wisconsin and Illinois. Next the company reinforced its profitable Canadian division by closing its stores in Quebec market and acquiring Dominion Stores
Dominion Stores (Ontario)
Dominion Stores was once a national chain of supermarkets in Canada, which was still known as the Dominion of Canada at the time of the company's founding. The chain was founded in 1919 in Ontario and was later acquired by Conrad Black's Argus Corporation...

 in Ontario. In the United States, A&P constructed larger 40000 square feet (3,716.1 m²) supermarkets for the A&P brand called Future Stores. In 1985, A&P purchased Waldbaum's
Waldbaum's
Waldbaum's is a supermarket chain with stores on Long Island, in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, and one store in Connecticut. It began in 1904 as a shop run by Sam and Wolf Waldbaum in Brooklyn. Their nephew, Izzy, emigrated to America and joined the business....

 with stores in southern New York and southern New England, and Food Emporium, an upscale New York City-based chain. These stores mostly replaced under-performing A&P stores (by the early 2000s, all New York City A&P stores were operating under the Waldbaum's or Food Emporium banners). In 1989, A&P acquired Farmer Jack
Farmer Jack
Farmer Jack was a supermarket chain based in Detroit, Michigan. At its peak, it operated more than 100 stores, primarily in southeastern Michigan. In its final years the chain operated as a subsidiary of the New Jersey-based A&P Corporation...

 in Michigan and Ohio.

While overall the company returned to profitability, A&P continued to suffer in southern markets. In the 1990s, it exited Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee and sold many of these stores to Kroger
Kroger
The Kroger Co. is an American supermarket chain founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It reported US$ 76.7 billion in sales during fiscal year 2009. It is the country's largest grocery store chain and its second-largest grocery retailer by volume and second-place general retailer...

. In 1993, A&P began a major overhaul of its stores in the mid-Atlantic region, New Orleans, the Midwestern Farmer Jacks and Kohls, Maryland, Philadelphia, and southern New England. Most of the stores smaller than 40000 square feet (3,716.1 m²) were shut down and replaced with stores ranging from 50000 square feet (4,645.2 m²) to 80000 square feet (7,432.2 m²). The new units included pharmacies, larger bakeries, and more general merchandise.

The 21st century

Wal-mart gained a dominant position in the grocery industry forcing many existing chains to downsize. By 2000, A&P and its various other brands were down to about 600 stores and two years later declared its largest loss. The company exiting Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wisconsin; the latter with the folding of Kohl's
Kohl's
Kohl's Corporation is an American department store chain headquartered in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, operating , 1,089 stores in 49 states. In 1998, it entered the S&P 500 list, and is also listed in the Fortune 500...

 Super Food markets. A&P's was reduced to just over 500 stores. In 2005, A&P sold its 237 store Canadian division, as well as its Eight O'Clock Coffee
Eight O'Clock Coffee
Eight O'Clock Coffee is the brand name of the light roast of coffee introduced by the American supermarket chain A&P in 1859. In 1919, the roast was renamed and given its current trademark. According to legend, the company came up with the name by conducting a survey asking people what time of day...

 division, and Food Basics
Food Basics
Food Basics is a discount Canadian supermarket chain owned by Metro Inc. and with all stores within Ontario. It was created by A&P Canada to compete with the successful No Frills warehouse-style supermarket operated by Loblaw Companies...

 (Canada)to Metro Inc., a grocery retailer based in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, for C$1.7 billion in cash and shares of Metro. On August 7, 2008, Metro announced that the A&P name would be retired over the next year, with its stores rebranded as "Metro". A&P's store brands, Equality and Master Choice, were also phased out in favor of Metro's brands. A&P also announced plans to divest itself of its Midwest operations. In late November 2009, the last Canadian A&P stores, in Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...

, were converted to Metro.

A&P adopted the new slogan, "Fresh Thinking Since 1859." and initially converted over 20 retail stores to its "fresh" (all lowercase letters) format with an additional 40 stores in 2006. The first Fresh Market opened in Denville, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 on August 20, 2004. The Midland Park
Midland Park, New Jersey
Midland Park is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 7,128....

 and Woodland Park, New Jersey Fresh Markets incorporated gourmet food, organics, a wine department, and several food preparation counters which allowed the consumer to taste and purchase fresh meals. The Midland Park unit is a new store located in the upscale Ridgewood area of Bergen County and is the chain's top unit by sales volume. In addition to its format change, A&P changed its logo to a simple red oval, removing the orange and yellow bands that had been in use since the Scott era. The red oval logo now appears on many of the stores that were converted to the "fresh" format, with the signage on some stores simply reading "A&P fresh". Other "fresh" format stores use a modified version of the A&P Food Market logo.

In early 2007, A&P agreed to acquire Pathmark
Pathmark
Pathmark is a supermarket chain headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey. It was founded in 1968 when its then parent, Supermarkets General Corporation, pulled out of the ShopRite retailers' cooperative...

 and ultimately paid $1.4 billion for the chain. This allowed A&P to regain its position as the largest grocery retailer in the New York City area, and the second largest in the Philadelphia/New Jersey market. Pathmark is the "price impact" format for the company and eight Super Fresh locations in the Philadelphia market were converted to Pathmark Sav-a-Centers.

When the company celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2009, it was only ranked No. 21 by Supermarket News of the "Top 75 North American Food Retailers", based on 2008 fiscal year estimated sales of $9.6 billion. The Executive Chairman was Christian W.E. Haub
Christian W.E. Haub
Christian W.E. Haub is the CEO of Montvale, New Jersey's Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company .Mr. Haub is and has been a member of the Board of The Great Atlantic & Pacific since December 3, 1991. He currently serves as CEO, and Executive Chairman of the Board of the Company , and Chair of the...

, a member of the family that owns the Tengelmann Group
Tengelmann Group
Tengelmann Warenhandelsgesellschaft KG, doing business as the Tengelmann Group, is a holding company based in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany.-Structure:The corporation has the following subsidiaries:*A&P Tea Company ; 362 stores...

 of Germany. The President and Chief Executive Officer
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

 was Sam Martin. Eric Claus, the former President and CEO, resigned on October 20, 2009. Tengelmann holds an approximate 38.5 percent stake in A&P, with Yucaipa holding a 27.5 percent share; the rest held by individual shareholders and investor groups. The company operated under six retail banners, which included conventional supermarkets, food-and-drug combination stores, and discount food stores. It was down to 395 stores in Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. (Its Best Cellars wine store chain does not operate in Pennsylvania, where laws permit wine sales only in Commonwealth-owned and operated liquor stores, and wineries, which are allowed to sell their own product), Best Cellars also operates in Massachusetts and Virginia. The company leases space in some of its Pennsylvania stores to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is an independent government agency that manages the beverage alcohol industry in Pennsylvania. It is responsible for licensing the possession, sale, storage, transportation, importation, and manufacture of wine, spirits, and malt or brewed beverages in the...

, which operates wine and spirits shops in the front of those locations.

The recession hit many food chains as customers went to Wal-marts in even greater numbers. A&P was especially hard hit because of its increased debt load to complete the Pathmark purchase. In June 2010, A&P stopped paying $150 million in rent at its closed Farmer Jack
Farmer Jack
Farmer Jack was a supermarket chain based in Detroit, Michigan. At its peak, it operated more than 100 stores, primarily in southeastern Michigan. In its final years the chain operated as a subsidiary of the New Jersey-based A&P Corporation...

 locations resulting in 24 lawsuits from property owners. On August 13, 2010, A&P announced that it would close 25 stores; these supermarkets were "facing real estate and cost issues, and underperforming non-core stores." The stores were in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania including thirteen Pathmarks, six A&Ps, two Waldbaum's, and four SuperFresh. These stores were scheduled to close by mid October (see "Store dipositions" table). On September 8, 2010, the company announced it was selling seven stores in Connecticut to BigY. The transfer took place in October 2010, with BigY not promising to reopen all seven (see "Store dipositions" table).

On December 10, 2010, bankruptcy rumors surfaced and the stock tumbled from over $3 per share to below $1 before trading was halted. Two days later, it was announced that due to competition, and a weak economy, A&P was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to documents filed in US Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York, A&P listed over $1 billion in assets, and a similar amount of debt. JP Morgan Chase was to provide $800 million in debtor-in-possession financing
Debtor-in-possession financing
Debtor-in-possession financing or DIP financing is a special form of financing provided for companies in financial distress or under Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. Usually, this security is more senior than debt, equity, and any other securities issued by a company...

. A&P had a net loss of $153.7 million for the 12-week period ending September 11, 2010. Its total assets were $2.53 billion and liabilities were $3.21 billion. The company was removed from the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...

 after its stock price fell 92 percent during 2010 to below $1 per share. Pennsylvania-based Martin's Potato Bread discontinued supplying A&P-branded stores after the company stopped paying Martin's vendors. In addition, A&P's bankruptcy filing led to cash problems at Tastykake
Tastykake
Tastykake is the brandname for a line of snack foods manufactured by the Tasty Baking Company, currently headquartered at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Established in 1914 by Philip J. Baur and Herbert T...

, then also headquartered in Pennsylvania. (Tastykake was acquired by Flowers Foods
Flowers Foods
Flowers Foods, headquartered in Thomasville, Georgia, is a producer and marketer of packaged bakery foods in the United States. The company operates 39 bakeries that produce breads, buns, rolls, snack cakes, and pastries...

 in April 2011.)

On February 15, 2011, A&P announced that 32 additional stores would close by spring (see "Store dispositions" table). A&P lost about $35 million in March and on April 13th announced that 25 Super Fresh stores would be closed, including those already sold. These closings took place by July in Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Also in April, it was announced that the A&P in Armonk, New York
Armonk, New York
Armonk is a hamlet and census-designated place located in the town of North Castle in Westchester County, New York. As of the 2010 census, the CDP population was 4,330....

 would be replaced by a Rhode Island-based pharmacy, CVS. This A&P will close in early 2012. The company lost about $56.5 million in June; and abandoned its "Lower Price Project", which began in spring 2010.

In a November 3 press release on its website http://aptea.com/pdf/AP%20Investment%20Agreement%20Press%20Release_11%203%2011_Final.pdf, A&P announced that it had entered into an agreement to receive $490 million of debt and equity financing from private investors The Yucaipa Companies LLC, Mount Kellett Capital Management LP, and investment funds managed by Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational bulge bracket investment banking and securities firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients...

 Asset Management, L.P, subject to approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The agreement will enable A&P to complete its restructuring, and emerge from Chapter 11 as a private entity in early 2012. The investment will form the basis of A&P’s plan of reorganization, which the Company anticipates filing by November 14. “This investment commitment is a very important step in A&P’s financial and operational turnaround,” said A&P’s President and Chief Executive Officer Sam Martin
Sam Martin
Sam Alan Martin is a professional speedway rider for Sheffield Tigers.- References :...

. “It positions us for a bright future with solid financial backing from sophisticated investors who know our company and industry well, and who also share our vision for A&P’s future.” Martin added "...With this fresh capital investment and the Court’s approval of our plan of reorganization, we anticipate emerging from Chapter 11 early next year in a much stronger competitive and financial position.” Following the closing of the transaction and the Company’s emergence from Chapter 11, A&P’s Board of Directors will be dissolved, and a new Board of Directors will be appointed in accordance with the terms of the plan of reorganization. During the Company’s exit process, A&P intends to continue to operate its stores as usual.

Rise and decline in number of stores

Year No. of Stores
1863 5
1878 70
1900 400
1915 1,600
1930 16,000
1950 4,500
1970 4,000
1980 2,000
1990 1,000
2000 600
2008 460
2011 338

Details of store dipositions, 2010-2011

Store dipositions (Sources:)
MunicipalityBannerDispositionDisposition date (yyyy-mm-dd)Notes
Berlin, Connecticut
Berlin, Connecticut
Berlin is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 19,866 at the 2010 census. It was incorporated in 1785. The geographic center of Connecticut is located in the town. Berlin is residential and industrial, and served by the Amtrak station of the same name...

A&P Closed 2010-10-13
Armonk, New York
Armonk, New York
Armonk is a hamlet and census-designated place located in the town of North Castle in Westchester County, New York. As of the 2010 census, the CDP population was 4,330....

A&P Closing 2012 to be replaced by a CVS Pharmacy outlet
East Brunswick, Lodi
Lodi, New Jersey
Lodi is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 24,136. The borough of Lodi is governed under the 1923 Municipal Manager Law.Lodi owes its name to the Italian city of Lodi...

, Maplewood
Maplewood, New Jersey
Maplewood is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township population was 23,867.-History:...

, Woodbridge, New Jersey
A&P Closed 2010-10-13 Maplewood A&P oldest Company store in operation (c. 1942) at time of closing
Yorktown Heights, New York
Yorktown Heights, New York
Yorktown Heights is a census-designated place in the town of Yorktown in Westchester County, New York, United States. The population was 1,781 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Yorktown Heights is located at ....

A&P Closed 2010-10-13
Belleville
Belleville, New Jersey
Belleville is a Township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township population was 35,926.-History:...

 (Washington Av.); Fort Lee
Fort Lee, New Jersey
Fort Lee is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 35,345. Located atop the Hudson Palisades, the borough is the western terminus of the George Washington Bridge...

,
Marlboro Township
Marlboro Township, New Jersey
-Weather:Marlboro is located close to the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the location Marlboro Township has on the Eastern Seaboard, the following weather features are noted:*On average, the warmest month is July where the average high is and the average low is ....

, North Bergen,
North Brunswick, South Plainfield,
Union, Woodland Park, New Jersey
Pathmark Closed 2010-10-13
Garden City; Monsey, New York Pathmark Closed 2010-10-13
Centereach; Farmingdale; Levittown, New York Waldbaum's Closed 2010-10-13
Towson, Maryland SuperFresh Closed 2010-10-13 Dulaney Valley
Wheaton, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2010-10-13
West Hartford, Connecticut Waldbaum's (Fresh) Sold to BigY October 2010
Branford, East Haven, Middletown, Mystic, Naugatuck, Old Lyme, Connecticut A&P (Superfoodmart) Sold to BigY October 2010
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Bridgeport is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Connecticut. Located in Fairfield County, the city had an estimated population of 144,229 at the 2010 United States Census and is the core of the Greater Bridgeport area...

Food Basics Close April 2011
Glasgow, Delaware
Glasgow, Delaware
Glasgow is a census-designated place in New Castle County, Delaware, United States. The population was 12,840 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Glasgow is located at ....

Pathmark Close 2011 spring
Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City, sometimes known as OC, or OCMD, is an Atlantic Ocean resort town in Worcester County, Maryland, United States. Ocean City is widely known in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and is a frequent destination for vacationers in that area...

SuperFresh Close 2011 spring Gold Coast Mall
Deptford, New Jersey Pathmark Close 2011 spring
Gillette, New Jersey Pathmark Close 2011 spring
Hillsborough, New Jersey Pathmark Close 2011 spring
Livingston, New Jersey Pathmark Close 2011 spring
Middletown, New Jersey Pathmark Close 2011 spring
North Hackensack, New Jersey Pathmark Close 2011 spring
South Plainfield, New Jersey Pathmark Close 2011 spring
Whippany, New Jersey
Whippany, New Jersey
Whippany is an unincorporated area located within Hanover Township in Morris County, New Jersey. Whippany's name is derived from the Whippanong Native Americans, a tribe that once inhabited the area...

Pathmark Close 2011 spring
Barnegat, New Jersey A&P Close 2011 spring
Flanders, New Jersey A&P Close 2011 spring
Manville, New Jersey A&P Close 2011 spring
Cape May Courthouse, New Jersey SuperFresh Close 2011 spring
Hamilton, New Jersey SuperFresh Close 2011 spring
Hammonton, New Jersey SuperFresh Close 2011 spring
Hightstown, New Jersey SuperFresh Close 2011 spring
Mouth Holly, New Jersey SuperFresh Close 2011 spring
Carmel, Greenburgh, New Rochelle,
Port Chester, New York
A&P Close Spring 2011
Brooklyn (Nostrand Av.), Commack, Harsdale, New York Pathmark Close Spring 2011
Farmingdale, Smithtown,
Valley Stream, New York
Waldbaums Close Spring 2011
Lionville, Pennsylvania SuperFresh Close 2011 spring
Yardley, Pennsylvania SuperFresh Close 2011 spring
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Pathmark Close 2011 spring
Dover, Delaware SuperFresh Close 2011-07
Milford, Delaware SuperFresh Close 2011-07
Arbutus, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Arnold, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Baltimore, Maryland (2) SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Brunswick, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Cambridge, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Chestertown, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Elkridge, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Ellicott City, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Frederick, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Glen Burnie, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland
Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland
Lutherville-Timonium is a census-designated place in Baltimore County, Maryland made up of the unincorporated communities of Lutherville and Timonium. The population was 15,814 as of the 2000 census. Within its borders lies the Lutherville Historic District...

SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Mount Airy, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Nottingham, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Odenton, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Parkville, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Rosedale, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Salisbury, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Towson, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Westminster, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
White Oak, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Woodlawn, Maryland SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06
Washington, D.C. SuperFresh Close 2011-07-06 48th Street NW; the last remaining A&P-affiliated store in D.C.

Private brands, then and now

For decades, A&P pioneered in the use of store brand
Store brand
Store brands are a line of products sold by a retailer under a single marketing identity. They bear a similarity to the concept of House brands, Private label brands in the United States, own brands in the UK, and home brands in Australia and generic brands...

s. Eight O'Clock
Eight O'Clock Coffee
Eight O'Clock Coffee is the brand name of the light roast of coffee introduced by the American supermarket chain A&P in 1859. In 1919, the roast was renamed and given its current trademark. According to legend, the company came up with the name by conducting a survey asking people what time of day...

, Red Circle
Red Circle Coffee
Red Circle Coffee was introduced in 1919 by the American supermarket chain A&P as an economy brand with the slogan "For Savings". Originally it was sold in metal tins and ground to order....

, and Bokar
Bokar Coffee
Bokar Coffee is a dark roasted coffee brand of Eight O'Clock Coffee, which began being sold by the American supermarket chain A&P in 1919. Eight O'Clock Coffee's Bokar blend is described on their website as "A select blend of 100% Arabica coffee beans, named for two famous coffee-producing areas in...

 coffees, Our Own tea, Ann Page, and Jane Parker foods, to regular customers, were almost as notable as retail brands the stores carried. Other A&P brands included Sultana, Iona, Cap'n John, Dexo, Dexola, Yukon Club, Sail, Bright Sail, Grandmothers, Marvel, Penguin, Super Right, White House, Cherri-Aid, Sparkle, Bonesse, Sunnyfield, Crestview, Wildmere, Ched-o-bit, Mel-o-bit processed cheeses, Nutley margarine, and Sunnybrook/Silverbrook butter.
In the 1990s A&P introduced two store brands, America's Choice
America's Choice
America's Choice was the fifth album by the American blues rock band Hot Tuna, recorded in 1974 and released the following year. The first of the "Rampage" trilogy albums recorded by the now power trio, it marked a major shift in musical direction by the group...

 and Master Choice. The America's Choice name was a rebranding of the entire A&P-brand line, which replaced many older brands, including Jane Parker and Ann Page. Master Choice was A&P's line of premium items including meat and baked goods. Simultaneously, A&P introduced the Health Pride brand of health and beauty aids. Meanwhile, A&P sold Eight O'Clock Coffee to a San Francisco
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

 investment firm in 2003; stores continue to sell the coffee. (Some SuperFresh stores, plus Super A&P stores in New Jersey include Eight O'Clock Coffee Cafes, built when A&P owned the brand. The Cafes offer coffee and other drinks (America's Choice soda, Rockstar
Rockstar (drink)
Rockstar is an energy drink created in 2001. With 14% of the US market in 2008, Rockstar is a leading energy drink brand. Rockstar is based in Las Vegas...

 energy drinks), chips, candy, bagels, donuts, fresh baked goods, sandwiches, wraps, and other items. They usually have that day's newspapers available. Added in 2008 and 2009 were the environmentally sensitive Green Way brand, Hartford Reserve (replacing Master Choice), and America's Choice Gold, a brand positioned between America's Choice and Hartford Reserve in terms of quality. More recently, it was announced that America's Choice Reserve would replace the America's Choice Gold line in produce, poultry, bakery, and deli.

In 2009, the 150th anniversary of A&P, store brands introduced included Via Roma (Italian cheeses, pasta, pizza, fresh cannoli), Preferred Pet (dog and cat foods), Market Spa (shampoos, conditioners, and lotions) Live Better (OTC health products, including pain relievers, allergy relief, cough drops, vitamins) and America's Choice Kids (child-healthy foods.) The number of store-brand products had grown to over 20,000. In 2010, A&P added entry-level store brands (Food Basics and Home Basics) in yellow packaging. "See yellow, save green" is the slogan for these brands. Food Basics' products include: discount-priced canned and bottled products, evaporated milk, frozen confectionery, produce, and meat, while Home Basics' line include bargain-priced paper, toilet tissue, detergents, and plastic food wraps.

A&P's newest store brand is The Food Emporium Trading Company.

Trade Names

Current banners
  • A&P Food Market (A&P Fresh and Super A&P)
  • A&P Super Foodmart (New England division)
  • Food Basics USA
    Food Basics USA
    Food Basics is a no-frills supermarket chain operated by The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company in the northeastern United States. The Food Basics concept began in Canada, where it was launched by A&P's Canadian subsidiary. The two chains are no longer connected, as the Canadian Food Basics is...

  • The Food Emporium
    The Food Emporium
    The Food Emporium is a chain of grocery stores originally part of Shopwell Inc. Acquired in 1986 by The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company , The Food Emporium operated approximately 30 stores as of December 31, 2010, in Manhattan, Westchester County, New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut...

  • Pathmark
    Pathmark
    Pathmark is a supermarket chain headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey. It was founded in 1968 when its then parent, Supermarkets General Corporation, pulled out of the ShopRite retailers' cooperative...

     (Super Center and Sav-A-Center)
  • Super Fresh
    Super Fresh
    Super Fresh is a chain of supermarkets owned by A&P, which introduced the banner in 1982, converting its Mid-Atlantic region's stores to the new name. Super Fresh's 24 stores are mostly in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, plus Delaware and southern New Jersey...

  • Waldbaum's
    Waldbaum's
    Waldbaum's is a supermarket chain with stores on Long Island, in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, and one store in Connecticut. It began in 1904 as a shop run by Sam and Wolf Waldbaum in Brooklyn. Their nephew, Izzy, emigrated to America and joined the business....

  • A&P Warehouse Liquors
  • Best Cellars


Defunct banners
  • A&P Sav-A-Center
    Sav-A-Center
    Sav-A-Center was an A&P-owned chain of 20 supermarkets in the greater New Orleans, Louisiana area. The division operated throughout Louisiana, and had two stores in Mississippi...

  • Farmer Jack
    Farmer Jack
    Farmer Jack was a supermarket chain based in Detroit, Michigan. At its peak, it operated more than 100 stores, primarily in southeastern Michigan. In its final years the chain operated as a subsidiary of the New Jersey-based A&P Corporation...

  • Futurestore
    A&P Futurestore
    Futurestore was an American supermarket chain owned and operated by A&P. Futurestore was one of two concepts A&P launched during the 1980s , Futurestore's first supermarket was in the New Orleans area, where A&P converted two Kroger stores it had acquired...

  • Family Mart
  • Kohl's Food Stores
    Kohl's
    Kohl's Corporation is an American department store chain headquartered in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, operating , 1,089 stores in 49 states. In 1998, it entered the S&P 500 list, and is also listed in the Fortune 500...

  • SuperPlus Food Stores
  • A-Mart, Discount Foods
  • W.E.O. (Warehouse Economy Outlet - "Where Economy Originates") A&P's low-price warehouse concept introduced in May 1971. It featured displays of fast-selling grocery items in their original packaging. This concept lasted only until 1974.


The low-price warehouse concept returned when Costco began in 1983.

Store design

Except for the West Coast
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

 stores (which had a marina design), A&P stores constructed from 1955 to 1970 usually featured a distinctive cupola
Cupola
In architecture, a cupola is a small, most-often dome-like, structure on top of a building. Often used to provide a lookout or to admit light and air, it usually crowns a larger roof or dome....

 and weather vane
Weather vane
A weather vane is an instrument for showing the direction of the wind. They are typically used as an architectural ornament to the highest point of a building....

 (bow and truss) design on the buildings' roofs, and red brick finish on the walls (including the back), as well as a raised triangular point in the front facade where the store's logo was placed; some older stores were remodeled to include these features, which became a store trademark. The design can still be seen on many buildings that were converted after the A&Ps closed. After 1970, A&P switched from the weather vane design, experimenting with other designs. Into the 1980s, A&P built few new stores, as it exited many areas. Beginning in the late 1980s, A&P began closing the "weather vane" stores, replacing them with a larger model, known as "Futurestores." By the mid-1990s, A&P began adding pharmacies to the "Futurestores"; likewise, the company concentrated on building stores of 50000 square feet (4,645.2 m²) to 80000 square feet (7,432.2 m²). Today's A&P stores include bakeries, full-service delicatessens, full-service meat, and pharmacies, in addition to traditional grocery departments. As of 2011, few "weather vane" stores continue as A&P supermarkets. Several of these stores are Waldbaum's supermarkets. A&P re-branded the A&P stores within the five boroughs as Waldbaum's in the early 2000s. In 2005, at a defunct Waldbaum's in the New Dorp neighborhood of Staten Island
Staten Island
Staten Island is a borough of New York City, New York, United States, located in the southwest part of the city. Staten Island is separated from New Jersey by the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull, and from the rest of New York by New York Bay...

, an arson fire caused the structure's trademark roof to collapse.

Woman's Day

The publication Woman's Day
Woman's Day
Woman's Day is aimed at a female readership, covering such subjects as food, nutrition, fitness, beauty and fashion. The magazine edition is one of the "Seven Sisters", a group of women's service magazines....

was launched by A&P in 1937. Originally sold exclusively at A&P stores, Woman's Day was purchased by an independent publisher in the mid-1950s, and no longer has any connection to the supermarket chain.

In media

  • Starting on March 17, 1924, A&P was the sponsor of the musical radio show The A&P Gypsies
    The A&P Gypsies
    The A&P Gypsies was a musical series broadcast on radio beginning in 1924. With the opening theme of "Two Guitars," the host and band leader was Harry Horlick, who had learned gypsy folk music while traveling with gypsy bands in Istanbul....

    , which lasted until 1936.

  • John Updike
    John Updike
    John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic....

    's 1961 short story, "A&P
    A&P (story)
    "A & P" is an ironic short story written by John Updike in 1961 in which the hero and first person narrator takes a stand for what is right and therefore has hope for a better future. M...

    " is about a cashier who works at an A&P.
  • Tom Cruise
    Tom Cruise
    Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

    , in Oliver Stone
    Oliver Stone
    William Oliver Stone is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Stone became well known in the late 1980s and the early 1990s for directing a series of films about the Vietnam War, for which he had previously participated as an infantry soldier. His work frequently focuses on...

    's film Born on the Fourth of July
    Born on the Fourth of July
    Born on the Fourth of July is the best selling autobiography of Ron Kovic, a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran who became an anti-war activist. Kovic was born on July 4, 1946, and his book's ironic title echoed a famous line from George M. Cohan's patriotic 1904 song, "The Yankee Doodle Boy"...

    , plays Ron Kovic
    Ron Kovic
    Ronald Lawrence Kovic is an anti-war activist, veteran and writer who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He is best known as the author of the memoir Born on the Fourth of July, which was made into an Academy Award–winning movie directed by Oliver Stone, with Tom Cruise playing Kovic...

    , who works for A&P before he leaves for Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

    .

Sources

  • The Rise & Decline of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea company, Walsh, William I., Copyright 1986 Publisher Lyle Stuart
  • That Wonderful A&P!, Hoyt, Edwin P., Copyright 1969, Hawthorn Books

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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