Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. yesterday announced plans to build at least 50 limited selection food stores by next February to serve "bargain-conscious shoppers."
A&P President Jonathan L. Scott told shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C., that the first of the new-style, low-priced food outlets will be open within two months.
As The Washington Post reported yesterday, six A&P supermarkets in the Virginia and Maryland suburbs which are closing tonight are among the stores being considered for conversion to the new retailing concept.
The economy-market A&P outlets will carry fewer than 1,000 items -- only a fraction of the merchandise of larger stores -- including a limited selection of packaged meats, dairy products and produce.
The stores are expected to carry the name Plus, a trademark used in Europe for similar stores run by the Tengelmann Group, a German retail firm that earlier this year purchased 42 percent of the stock of A&P.
At yesterday's annual meeting, four directors nominated by Tengelmann were elected to A&P's board of directors.
The Tenegelmann-inspired limited assortment stores "could be an excellent alternate use for many smaller A&P stores which would otherwise be closed because of obsolescence," Scott said.
He said A&P also will open six Family Mart "superstores," which take an opposite approach, broadening the traditional supermarket merchandise mix and adding more non-food items.