Saturday, February 27, 2010

Grocerying News Updates

Danville's Harris Teeter Closing in March

Last summer, Grocerying had the chance to visit Danville, Virginia and a Harris Teeter that we dubbed "the store that time forgot." As the news of its closing comes as little surprise, it is a blow to the already economically depressed Danville. Danville's grocerying scene now consists of Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly, Aldi, Wal-Mart Supercenter and a few small independents. In recent years Danville has also lost a Kroger, although Kroger still has a presence in nearby Martinsville. The closest Harris Teeter stores will now be in Greensboro, where some employees are transferring to and some customers say they will make the drive. It is worth noting that when we wrote the piece last year we predicted that the Danville store would not last much longer. Read more from the Danville Register & Bee

Wal-Mart now leads the Charlotte market

Wal-Mart has dethroned Harris Teeter as grocery market leader, according to an article published in today's Charlotte Observer. This comes as no surprise either as the Charlotte area's grocerying scene has changed immensely. We've seen stores leave (Winn-Dixie), new stores arrive (Lowes Foods) and a rise in specialty chains (Trader Joe's, Aldi, Compare Foods, Earth Fare) and of course supercenters (Wal-Mart, Target). Aside from Wal-Mart, in terms of number of stores Harris Teeter still dominates the northern and southern end of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, while Food Lion dominates the eastern and western portions. Get the full story from The Charlotte Observer and check out their graphic.

Bi-Lo's Woes & New Strategies

On the heels of Bi-Lo's Chapter 11 Bankruptcy reorganization and almost buyout by Food Lion, the South Carolina based grocery chain is trying a new strategy. The company has struggled to make a niche for itself as a mid-market grocer, so now they are banking on customer loyalty. Bi-Lo has partnered with area BP gas stations to promote usage of Bi-Lo's BonusCard for a program called Fuelperks. Read more about Fuelperks from The Charlotte Business Journal.

In other Bi-Lo news, two Charlotte area stores are slated for closing. Bi-Lo's store on Little Rock Road, which was a former Winn-Dixie, will close in March as will their store in Indian Trail off Independence Boulevard. WCCB-TV Fox Charlotte did a story on how anchor tenant Bi-Lo's closing causes a ripple effect throughout the shopping center hurting the smaller businesses.

1 comment:

Ken said...

Hate to hear about the Danville H-T closing, but it comes as no suprise. In this case it has as much to do with the state of the Danville economy as it does with Harris-Teeter's emphasis on being an upscale supermarket and moving out of locations that no longer meet the demographic that they are courting. This adds H-T to the long list of former Danville supers that include Winn-Dixie, Kroger, A&P, Colonial/Big Star among others. I think this would be a good opportunity for Lowe's to expand to Danville, but South Carolina and Charlotte are Lowe's expansion focus these days. This doesn't bode well for the Florence, SC location either, having survived H-T's exit from Myrtle Beach and Columbia.

It's a shame for the Charlotte area to loose another mid-market supermarket, two BiLo's in this case, but this is the segment that has been squeezed the most since the emergence of Walmart Supercenters. For the most part the demand for a supermarket still is there, with Lowe's or Food Lion being the best bet to fill that void. The six closing stores represent a small part of BiLo's operation, and would have likely closed based on volume when the leases expired, regardless of bankruptcy. BiLo's fuel perks deal with BP shows the chain is still moving to be relevant and competitive.