If a sale occurred to Kroger, which is the second-largest grocery chain after Walmart, then we would see a return of the mid-market grocer to the Charlotte market, as well as a return to other markets that have experienced Kroger’s absence, like the Washington, D.C.-metro area. Kroger, however, is the most typical mid-market grocer in America, which a price point that is more on par with Bi-Lo than Harris Teeter. Kroger only has a handful of stores in North Carolina currently, in Raleigh and Durham, and if a takeover of Harris Teeter were to occur, this would make Kroger one of the most dominant grocery store chains in the state.
With Publix expanding into the Charlotte metro area, one would think that the quickest takeover for Harris Teeter, its most formidable competitor, would give them a stronghold of the market. We don’t see this happening either though, because Publix grows a little more organically rather than through acquisition. Publix is planning on opening stores in Charlotte’s Ballantyne and South End communities soon.
Ultimately, much of the speculation is just that, and like we said our prediction is that the customer won’t notice any changes if and when a transaction occurs. With the store-swap with Lowes Foods last year in the Charlotte area, we think that Harris Teeter has worked hard to keep its core footprint of suburban markets and up and coming urban areas.