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Giant planning an expansion into Delaware


Giant Food Inc., having devoured the biggest share of the Baltimore-Washington grocery business, has decided on dessert: Delaware.

The Landover-based chain announced yesterday that it would start building its first Delaware store in the Wilmington suburb of Bear this summer. Giant also said it was pursuing at least two other locations in New Castle County, which includes the Wilmington area.

The store in Bear, a 61,000-square-foot food-drug unit at U.S. 40 and Delaware Route 1, is expected to open in spring 1994.

Barry F. Scher, Giant's vice president of public affairs, said there were no plans for additional Delaware stores but that more could be added. "Time will tell. We have only one aim, and that's to expand," he said.

According to Mr. Scher, Giant sees Wilmington as an area ripe for its brand of retailing. "We'll be bringing a gourmet food store to that area," he said.

In Wilmington, Giant would be going head-to-head with such chains as Acme, Pathmark and ShopRite.

Giant's move into Delaware has been expected in the industry for at least six months. The chain has largely saturated Baltimore-Washington and nearby areas. Mr. Scher said Giant preferred to keep its stores within about a three-hour radius of its distribution centers in Jessup and Landover. That restriction leaves southern Pennsylvania and Delaware as the only untapped markets.

Giant also expects to open its largest store in April -- a 68,500-square-foot food-drug store in Greenbelt to replace an existing store. Also expected in April is a 61,500-square-foot store in Upper Marlboro.

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