As of January 2008, A&P operates 141 stores within the Pathmark banner in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Prior to the sale to A&P, Supermarket News ranked Pathmark No. 31 in the 2007 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" based on 2006 fiscal year estimated sales of $4.1 billion. Based on 2005 revenue, Pathmark is the sixty-seventh largest retailer in the United States.
A&P revealed on February 27, 2007, that it was in talks to acquire Pathmark for $653 million.; the price of the chain went up over the next few days, and A&P announced on March 5th that it will buy Pathmark, for $1.3 billion which will be subject to certain approvals such as shareholder, state and federal anti-trust.
It is well known by baby-boomers for its radio and television commercials starring character actor James Karen, who was the chain's pitchman for more than 20 years.
Supermarkets Operating Co. and General Super Markets, another subgroup within Wakefern, merged in 1966 to become Supermarkets General Corporation, with Perlmutter as president. Supermarkets General operated 75 Shop-Rite stores in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Pennsylvania at the end of 1966, with annual sales of about $420 million. It was achieving high volume by opening large stores in densely populated areas and keeping prices low on both nationally branded goods and private-label items.
Pathmark's 81 supermarkets were accounting for about 85 percent of Supermarkets General's sales and 80 percent of its earnings in 1969.
Pathmark pioneered in the use of computer scanners at checkout counters, introduced by the chain in 1974.
After a period of relative stagnation, Pathmark opened, in 1977, the first of its "Super Centers"--huge discount grocery stores that also offered health and beauty aids, small appliances, and videotape rentals. These units were being created in large part by renovating and expanding the existing stores. At the end of the year Pathmark had full-line pharmacies in 81 of its 103 supermarkets, horticulture departments in 64, bakery departments in 60, and "mini-bank branches" in 13. In its annual report, Supermarkets General claimed its sales per store were the highest in the industry. "Pathmark does more than three times the business in a store only 33% larger than the industry average," the report said.
In its 1978 annual report, Supermarkets General claimed Pathmark had become the top supermarket chain in the New York metropolitan area, with a 15 percent market share. Twelve of its 109 outlets now were Super Centers. In all, Pathmark sales volume in 1978 came to $1.8 billion and the chain contributed 82 percent to corporate profits. About 60 percent of the volume was generated in stores opened, enlarged, or substantially remodeled during the past three years. Perlmutter died in 1978 and was succeeded by Brody as chief executive officer of Supermarkets General.
To foil a takeover bid by Dart Group Corp., management took Supermarkets General private in a $2.1 billion 1987 leveraged buyout, in which Merrill Lynch Capital Markets Inc. received 55 percent of the shares and the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S., 30 percent, with management retaining ten percent for itself. Servicing the debt ($1.6 billion in early 1990, half of it in junk bonds) soon proved a problem. During the same year, the company sold 25 of its free-standing drug stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshirt to the Mellville Corp., which at the time operated CVS Stores.
Although corporate sales reached $6 billion in fiscal 1989 (the year ended on the last Saturday of January 1989), the 51-unit Rickel subsidiary was performing poorly and the 142-store Pathmark grocery chain had slipped to third place in the New York area. Many of the Pathmark units had become, according to a Forbes article, "unkempt, dirty, and outmoded." Pathmark, this story went on to say, "continues to stock scores of the dreary no-frills offerings customers have shunned for years." Merrill Lynch sacked Chief Executive Kenneth Peskin, replacing him with Jack Futterman. The only bright spot for the parent company was its 66-unit Purity Supreme division, consisting of Massachusetts grocery and convenience store chains acquired in 1984. This division was sold in 1991 for about $265 million. (Supermarkets General's department stores had been sold in 1986.)
Supermarkets General lost money in every fiscal year between 1988 and 1993 and sales volume every fiscal year between 1989 and 1993. In fiscal 1993 it lost a record $617 million on sales of $4.34 billion, mainly reflecting a $600 million writedown of goodwill--the premium paid in excess of assets--in the 1987 buyout. The company's interest payments, averaging between $160 million and $180 million a year on its debt, were hampering its efforts to modernize its stores and thereby keep in pace with its competitors. Pathmark consisted at this time of 146 supermarkets, 33 freestanding drug stores, and seven distribution-processing facilities.
Supermarkets General sought in March 1993 to take Pathmark public, but backed off in the face of insufficient investor interest. Instead, in an October 1993 corporate reorganization, Supermarkets General Corp., a subsidiary of Supermarkets General Holdings Corp., changed its name to Pathmark Stores, Inc. and in essence recapitalized $1.3 billion in outstanding debt. The company thereby lowered its interest costs, reportedly from about 13 to nine percent of revenues, and thus increased cash flow. This allowed the company to step up capital investment in Pathmark. Rickel was spun off at this time and was sold in 1994.
Pathmark was now putting its hopes for the future on stores even bigger than the traditional Super Centers. The Pathmark 2000 format, first introduced in 1992, called for units as large as . By early 1995 there were 27 such stores, some new, some converted from other Pathmark outlets. They emphasized perishables such as produce, seafood, baked goods, flowers, and delicatessen items, as well as health and beauty aids with a selection to rival that of drugstore and discount competitors. These goods all had higher profit margins than packaged groceries. Pathmark 2000 stores also offered a customer service desk for product returns, video rentals, film processing, and UPS mail delivery, and restrooms with changing tables for mothers with babies in diapers. By the end of May 1996, 44 such stores were in operation and, by February 1997, 53 were in operation.
Pathmark also added to its private-label products in 1994 by introducing an upscale line called Pathmark Preferred to its generic No Frills brand and its mid-tier Pathmark brand. At this time Pathmark's more than 3,300 private-label items were accounting for about 24 percent of the chain's sales. In late 1995 a Pathmark on Long Island launched Chef's Creations, a program offering a menu of about 40 entrees, side dishes, and salads made in-store each day by a team of chefs. Pathmark, in late 1996, introduced Chef's Creations To Go--fresh, prepackaged meals for takeout, offering a choice of eight entrees and side dishes in microwavable containers. An outside manufacturer was preparing these meals to Pathmark's specifications.
By the summer of 1994 Pathmark had won its way back into the favor of New Yorkers, according to one survey that found it to be the city's most popular supermarket chain. A total of 17 percent of city residents were shopping at Pathmark regularly, and more than half of those who said they did so cited its low prices. The top-ranking chain in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island, Pathmark was now operating 17 superstores in New York City.
At the same time, Pathmark's 7 stores in Connecticut were showing same-store sales declines each quarter. In 1992, a decision was made to convert 2 of the stores to a new deep-discount drug store format called Pathmark Super-Drug. Over the next 2 years, 4 of the remaining Connecticut stores were also converted to the format, which was modeled after other deep-discount drug stores such as Pharmor and Woolworth's RX Place.
Pathmark was honored in 1995 as Pharmacy Chain of the Year by the magazine Drug Topics--the first time a supermarket retailer had won the award. All of its 142 supermarkets had pharmacies except six that were located in shopping centers with lease restrictions. According to the company, Pathmark was the leader in filling prescriptions in the metropolitan New York area and was participating in more than 200 major insurance plans. Prescriptions accounted for nearly seven percent of Pathmark's sales volume in 1994. Futterman, still the company's chief executive officer, was himself a registered pharmacist.
In June 1995, however, Pathmark reduced its pharmacy operations by selling 30 of its 36 freestanding drugstores to Rite Aid Corp. for $60 million. These outlets had accounted for $145 million in sales in fiscal 1995, about 3.5 percent of the companywide total. A company executive said that although the 30 stores had earned satisfactory profits, Pathmark had decided to concentrate its pharmacy efforts in the supermarkets, which he said were more efficient and attractive to customers. Pathmark's remaining drugstores--the six Connecticut Pathmark Super-Drug stores--were liquidated and closed during 1995-1996. The following year, Pathmark's single remaining store in Connecticut was closed, marking Pathmark's exit from the New England market.
Construction began in August 1997 on Pathmark's controversial $14.5 million supermarket in Manhattan's East Harlem. This unit was the first large supermarket in Harlem and had been bitterly opposed by owners of neighborhood food stores. This Pathmark was expected to generate hundreds of construction jobs as well as 200 in-store jobs and would include a pharmacy and a Chase Manhattan Bank branch. Pathmark was planning its biggest Bronx store in 1998: a unit on ten acres in the blighted area east of Crotona Park.
Supermarkets General cut its loss in fiscal 1994 (the year ended January 29, 1994, which the company itself defined as 1993, however) to $17 million (excluding extraordinary items and accounting changes) on net sales of $4.21 billion. It had its first profitable year in fiscal 1995 (ended January 28, 1995) since fiscal 1987, earning $10 million (not counting a $13 million credit for its prior losses) in net income on $4.21 billion in net sales. Pathmark's supermarket sales came to $3.84 billion and $3.79 billion in these respective fiscal years.
In fiscal 1996 (the fiscal year ended February 3, 1996), Supermarkets General had net income of $77 million on sales of $3.97 billion. Pathmark's supermarket sales came to $3.85 billion. In fiscal 1997 (ending February 1, 1997), the parent company had a net loss of $20 million on sales of $3.71 billion. This result included a charge the company took for the upcoming sale of 12 unprofitable Pathmark stores, most of them in southern New Jersey. Pathmark's supermarket sales came to all but $9 million of the corporate total. Same-store supermarket sales decreased 2.8 percent from the previous fiscal year, primarily due to heavy competition. James Donald, Futterman's successor as chief executive officer, laid off more than 200 employees at Pathmark's Woodbridge, New Jersey headquarters in March 1997.
In addition to Pathmark's corporate headquarters, Pathmark had, in 1997, distribution facilities for dry groceries and meat, dairy, and deli products in Woodbridge; a distribution facility for frozen food in Dayton, New Jersey; one for dry groceries in New Brunswick, New Jersey; and one for general merchandise (health care and beauty products, pharmaceuticals, and tobacco) in Edison, New Jersey. It had processing facilities for delicatessen products in Somerset, New Jersey and for banana ripening in Avenel, New Jersey. Pathmark's stores ranged from 26,000 to in size. All but five were either Pathmark 2000 or Super Center stores, and all but seven contained in-store pharmacy departments.
In October 1997 Pathmark announced that C&S Wholesale Grocers of Brattleboro, Vermont would take over its distribution facilities and become the chain's supplier for substantially all groceries and perishables. Pathmark was expected to receive perhaps $50 million from the deal, part of which would be used to pay down its debt of $1.47 billion.
In 1999, Pathmark proposed a sale to Royal Ahold (which owned and still owns Stop & Shop Supermarkets). At that time Ahold owned about 2 dozen stores in the New York Metro area known as Edwards Super Food Stores. Under the deal Edwards stores would be renamed Pathmark. In addition both Giant Supermarkets of Carlisle as well as Giant of Maryland would be rebranded Pathmark. Stop & Shop would continue to be the banner for New England stores. By the end of 1999, government approval of this sale was denied due to the fact the company would own too many stores in the New York Metro area. About half the stores in that area would have to be sold for the sale to be approved. At the end of 1999 Ahold walked away from the deal. They re-branded Edwards stores as Stop & Shop supermarkets. Giant of Carlisle, PA and Giant of Maryland retained their brand identities.
Pathmark partnered with Wild Oats Markets beginning in February 2007 when Pathmark added Wild Oats brand private-label goods to all of its 141 northeast U.S. stores. About 150 different natural and organic products were included in the partnership, including specialty products such as imported Italian sodas, balsamic vinegar, organic fruit spreads and flatbread crackers.
In 2006, rumors of a merger with A&P began to surface. In February 2007, it was announced that negotiations were going on for A&P to buy Pathmark. On March 5, 2007, A&P announced that it will buy Pathmark, for $1.3 billion which will be subject to certain approvals such as shareholder, state and federal anti-trust. Under the deal, between 20 and 35 stores will be sold to competitors. Pathmark and A&P will remain separate banners. Employees working at the in-store levels will remain with their respective banners for the foreseeable future, but people working above store levels will be consolidated. At the end of December 2007, after the December 3 approval, Pathmark's sale to A&P was consummated.
In spring 2008, PathMark introduced a new "price impact" store concept, under the PathMark Sav-A-Center (pronounced save a center) brand. This format was introduced to remodeled stores in Irvington and Edison, New Jersey. The Sav-A-Center name was previously used as a branding for A&P stores in the 1980s, and for an A&P-owned chain of stores in the New Orleans area which was sold in 2007.
Soon after the initial 2 units were tested, A&P announced that it was rolling out the format to 16 existing Pathmark Super Center stores as well as converting 8 of its 13 Philadelphia-area Super Fresh stores to the Pathmark Sav-A-Center banner.
New Jersey-Based Pathmark Stores to Reduce Executive Work Force.(Originated from The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.)
Jan 30, 1997; Jan. 30--Pathmark Stores Inc. of Woodbridge yesterday said it is reducing its executive work force by 25 percent, or about 300...
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. and Pathmark Stores, Inc. reached a definitive merger agreement whereby A&P will acquire Pathmark Stores, Inc., for $1.3 billion in cash, stock and debt assumption or retirement.(MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS)(Brief article)
Mar 12, 2007; THE GREAT ATLANTIC & PACIFIC TEA COMPANY, INC. and PATHMARK STORES, INC. reached a definitive merger agreement whereby A&P will...
Pathmark Stores Inc., Carteret, NJ, is reportedly in talks to be sold to C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., a Keene, NH-based wholesaler and a major player in the supermarket industry in the Northeast.(Retailer Round-Up)(Brief Article)
Mar 07, 2005; * Pathmark Stores Inc., Carteret, NJ, is reportedly in talks to be sold to C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., a Keene, NH-based...