Why has there never been an A&P bankruptcy?

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Ephrata1966
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Why has there never been an A&P bankruptcy?

Post by Ephrata1966 » 09 Jun 2010 23:51

The A&P "Empire" has had a really bizarre history. They had "good" and "bad" periods for new store development, and lots of name changes back and forth. I believe they started with downtown stores, then moved on to this style: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N ... 563434732/

This Acme (just about a block away) opened in 1954, and is still open (rear view): http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N00/3939264477/

I would guess the A&P opened around the same time. Perhaps their "barrel roof" stores were from the very early 50's?

The book "Family Pride", about Genuardi's, gives an interesting account. It says that in the later 50's, Acme, Food Fair, and Penn Fruit were the "favorite" chains of Philadelphia developers. A&P was excluded, and was treated the same as early Thriftway stores!

That all must have changed when the classic Centennial A&P, such as most of the ones here, debuted: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N ... 563434732/

But after about 1965, it seems no more Centennials were built. From that point into the 70's, they built quite a few new stores, but not as many. They all looked different too. A&P continued to update stores, many not very old.

Meanwhile, this basic design I believe was built on and off for about 20 years! (circa 1955-1975): http://www.flickr.com/photos/42444189@N ... 339997109/

The "Progress Plaza" store from 1968 had this style.

In the 70's they actually began closing stores, and replacing the Centennials after a while. At this point, many of the WEO stores were switched back to just A&P with their new logo. But in 1982, they tried to exit the Philadelphia market. The unions stopped them, even though they already closed ALL their area stores. I believe, from 1982-1985, different selected stores reopened! as Super Fresh. They even resumed new store construction, and fast.

But my question is, after thousands of store closures, selloffs, and failed concepts, how did they never have a bankruptcy reorganization? Last time I checked, A&P never went bankrupt. Food Fair, Penn Fruit, Grand Union, and AppleTree all did. So did icons like Woolworth and Montgomery Ward.
Last edited by Ephrata1966 on 13 Dec 2010 17:41, edited 1 time in total.

rich
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Re: Why has there never been an A&P bankruptcy?

Post by rich » 10 Jun 2010 11:14

A&P continued to build centennials into the early 70s, perhaps they just didn't do this in Philly. During the 50s, they tended to build plain front stores that had the circualr A&P logo with tapering "wings" on each side. The pic is more typical of what they built in the mid-70s.

Even in their weaker years, A&P retained considerable volume in inner city areas and parts of the South, as well as in the NYC area. They had a lot of real estate, favorable leases and cash generating operations which enabled them to finance various evolutions from the 70s onward. They tended not to locate in large shopping centers from the centennial era onward perhaps as a cost saving measure, although they had been pioneers in using shopping center locations, with this being evident as long ago as the 1930s. The restructuring of some operations as Super Fresh has been previously discussed, including the role of labor unions--just do a search.

The bankruptcies of other chains had varying sources. Steve Landry has dicussed Food Fair in various threads. The decline of Penn Fruit was recently linked. Grand Union has been discussed on the Pleasant family Shopping blog--they did well for many years but suffered as part of the Goldsmith empire, where they were paired with the long declining Colonial Stores chain. Many chains limped through the 70s, an era of tremendous inflation and comeptitive pressure and some had near death experiences, like National Tea, which survived only through its ownership by Canada's Loblaw.

Ephrata1966
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Re: Why has there never been an A&P bankruptcy?

Post by Ephrata1966 » 12 Jun 2010 00:48

Oh right, I forgot to mention some of their 70's stores were in really odd locations. I wonder why this had to be. Here are some Philadelphia examples, not so apparent from the pictures.

Chichester, PA: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N ... 563434732/

Exton, PA: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N ... 7563434732

But one other question, did this logo come before the red circle logo?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42444189@N ... 354737793/

dooneyt63
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Re: Why has there never been an A&P bankruptcy?

Post by dooneyt63 » 12 Jun 2010 14:49

The colonial letters logo referenced in the photograph was commonly used during the same period the circle was employed during the centennial building era from 1959 to the early 1970's. Many street signs had this lettering while the building had a circle in the gable at the center. The red circle of this era was actually most commonly a white circle with a red A&P. Various circles were used prior to the building of the centennials (white on red, yellow on red, etc.)

rich
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Re: Why has there never been an A&P bankruptcy?

Post by rich » 12 Jun 2010 15:01

In some cities, the colonial script was used as the logo for newspaper ads, usually in the form of signs used on streets. This was done in Cleveland in the late 60s. There also were local variations in the font used with the circle logo in newspaper ads.

RoleModel

Re: Why has there never been an A&P bankruptcy?

Post by RoleModel » 12 Jun 2010 23:28

I think people underestimate their dominance in parts of NYC and especially on Long Island.

On LI, only Stop and Shop poses somewhat of a threat. Walmart has no supercenters on LI (and no stores in NYC), Shoprite only has a handful of locations, and King Kullen's prices cannot compete with S&S or the A&P stores.

werememberretail
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Re: Why has there never been an A&P bankruptcy?

Post by werememberretail » 13 Jun 2010 14:27

RoleModel wrote:I think people underestimate their dominance in parts of NYC and especially on Long Island.

On LI, only Stop and Shop poses somewhat of a threat. Walmart has no supercenters on LI (and no stores in NYC), Shoprite only has a handful of locations, and King Kullen's prices cannot compete with S&S or the A&P stores.


Indeed Long Island is a stronghold for A&P one of their few really dominant markets. Really NYC is the heart of A&P, only makes sense that it started in NYC 151 years ago. The NY metro group really has No threats, the stores RoleModel mentioned don't have the stores or the power that A&P has (Waldbaum,Food Emporium, Pathmark) and there are large co-op chains, like C-town and Key Food, full of small low quality second and third tier stores (mostly cast-offs from A&P and other chains) that really aren't in the same league as the real chains and skew more ethnic and lack the general appeal that A&P's stores do so TheTea Co. really is in a class by itself

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