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3 stores cited in FTC order will be kept by Tops

Tops Friendly Markets will be allowed to keep three stores, including one in Lockport, that the Federal Trade Commission originally ordered it to sell.

Neither Tops nor its FTC appointed trustee, the Food Partners, could find a buyer for the three locations, so the stores will revert back to Tops ownership. Two of them will become Tops stores, while another will close.

A former Quality Markets location at 7134 Rochester Road in Lockport will transition to a Tops supermarket over the next couple of weeks. Tops had been running the store using Tops procedures and merchandise since buying it as one of 79 stores purchased from Penn Traffic early last year.

"It's just a matter of getting the Tops sign up. We'll do that as soon as possible," said Katie McKenna, a Tops spokeswoman.

McKenna described sales at the store as "consistent."

A P&C store in Sayre, Pa., will also fly the Tops banner. Both locations will be upgraded, undergoing minor renovations and adding Tim Hortons coffee kiosks.

Another P&C store in Ithaca will close. Employees there will be offered jobs at surrounding Tops locations, McKenna said.

Last year, the FTC ordered Tops to sell seven of the Penn Traffic stores that it gained through a bankruptcy acquisition in January 2010, to settle allegations that the acquisition was anti-competitive in parts of New York and Pennsylvania.

Tops was able to sell three of the stores, in Cortland, Ithaca and Athens, to Hometown Markets.

Tops is in negotiations to sell the final store, a P&C in Bath, to an undisclosed party. The FTC's deadline to sell expired Wednesday, but Tops was granted a 90-day extension to finish the deal.

email: schristmann@buffnews.com

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