WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — The Federal Trade Commission this week ordered Tops Friendly Markets here to seek buyers for seven of the stores it had acquired from Penn Traffic earlier this year, following an antitrust review.
The FTC, which had allowed Tops to complete the acquisition before the antitrust review was completed, said it found five local areas where “competition was an issue": Bath, Cortland, Ithaca (two stores) and Lockport, all in New York, and Sayre, Pa. (also two stores). “In each market there are no more than three supermarkets within a 10- to 15-mile area,” the FTC said, citing the likelihood that Tops’ purchase of the stores would lead to higher prices.
"The initial reaction of Tops Friendly Markets is one of disappointment because of the company's desire to run a majority of the stores that were cited in the order,” Katie McKenna, a Tops spokeswoman, told SN.
Tops had acquired 79 stores from Penn Traffic for $85 million earlier this year and retained 55 of those, including the seven it must now seek to sell. It is in the process of converting the acquired stores to the Tops banner.