As A&P Struggles, Rivals Prepare To Snap Up Assets

The financial free fall of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.—owner of A&P, The Food Emporium, Pathmark, Waldbaum's and other chains—has its local rivals salivating.

“We are just observing right now,” insists billionaire John Catsimatidis, who owns the Gristedes chain. But industry-watchers say the one-time mayoral candidate is keen to take over some of the ailing supermarket giant's real estate. So, too, are at least a half-dozen others, including Fairway Market's co-owner, Howard Glickberg.

“If Food Emporium came up for sale, it would be a real estate opportunity for us,” says Mr. Glickberg, whose company is rapidly expanding in the area.

In fact, an implosion of 151-year-old A&P could be a windfall for its competitors. Buildings large enough to accommodate supermarkets are scarce and highly sought-after in the city. A&P's five-borough portfolio of 48 such properties under the Waldbaum's, Food Emporium, Pathmark and A&P banners is one of the largest in the city. The Montvale, N.J.-based grocer has a total of 429 stores across eight states in the Northeast.

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