A&P's Customer Data, Social Accounts and Brand Assets Are Up for Sale

Chapter 11 Grocery Chain Data Hits the Auction Block

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The sign outside an A&P store in South Orange, N.J., in 2001.
The sign outside an A&P store in South Orange, N.J., in 2001. Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/ Bloomberg News

Historic Northeast grocer A&P is selling its customer data.

The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, better known as A&P, filed for chapter 11 protection in July. Now the company plans to auction off its intellectual property, including private labels and trademarks, social media profiles, web domains, customer data and proprietary software, according to Hilco Streambank, the I.P. broker managing the process.

A&P comprises grocery chains including Pathmark, Waldbaum's and Super Fresh, and its private label brands include America's Choice, Green Way, Via Roma and others.

Exactly what information might be included in A&P's data trove is not known. The company has a loyalty program, my+Rewards, which tracks store purchases and triggers targeted coupons based on that data.

A spokeswoman at a firm representing A&P, Sard Verbinnen and Co., declined to elaborate on the assets that will be available.

When the A&P bankruptcy was announced in July, grocery industry observers suggested Kroger was a likely candidate to acquire some of A&P's assets. Since then, Key Food Stores has purchased 23 A&P locations.

Hilco Streambank earlier this year handled the sale of RadioShack's intellectual property, which encompassed 13 million email addresses and more than 65 million customer names and physical addresses, along with company trademarks, patents and domain names.

Sources involved in retail bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions have suggested that customer data is almost always included among intellectual property assets when companies are sold. Retailers that have gone through bankruptcies recently, including Delia's and WetSeal, have also added customer data to bankruptcy asset sales.

When the RadioShack data sale prompted wide media coverage earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission said the sale of customer data could violate federal law.

Hilco Streambank's bid deadline for the A&P auction is November 19.

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