Sunday, January 4, 2015
More Kroger Florida Developments
The official announcement of Kroger coming to Florida may be getting closer than everybody thought as we kick off the New Year on The Albertsons Florida Blog. According to the Florida Business Observer, a Tampa based business newspaper, Kroger has been looking at potential store sites north of Tampa and in the Fort Myers area. This news comes from a commercial real estate broker who has been working with Kroger recently. Last March, Kroger made a public announcement that they were in the works to enter a new market they currently don't have a presence in, which could only be three possible regions in the nation: The Northeast (which is already highly competitive and over-saturated with grocery chains), The Upper Midwest (The Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) or Florida. Over the past few years, Kroger has dropped some hints that Florida would be the most likely region out of those three that they would want to enter. First of all, Kroger is building a brand new, state of the art distribution center in Georgia to service their Southeast and Delta Region stores, which would be perfect to handle a Florida expansion. Not only that, but Kroger has tried to buy Winn-Dixie twice (in 2000 and 2005), with both buyouts unsuccessfully going though. I don't think Kroger ever wanted to leave Florida the first time back in the late 80's, however the supermarket industry in Florida was so overcrowded back then, it just wasn't worth it for Kroger at the time. Now with everything weeded out, Kroger could possibly compete successfully with Publix, who they already coexist with in the highly competitive Atlanta market. Publix currently has a 43% market share of the Florida supermarket industry, with Walmart in second place with 29%, and Winn-Dixie at 14%, according to the Motley Fool (who has a very good article about Florida's polarized supermarket industry and the fall of the middle of the road chains if you follow the link). If Kroger enters Florida, that could really shake things up. Publix is very protective of their home turf in Florida, and they are currently fighting a war with Walmart. While it would take a lot to dethrone Publix from the top, modern Kroger stores have a Publix like shopping atmosphere that will probably go over well with Florida shoppers, and will bring some much needed competition to the Sunshine State, something we've been lacking with the recent fall of stores like Albertsons, Food Lion, and Sweetbay. And most importantly, Kroger will fight with Publix, unlike those other chains have.
As usual, Kroger is keeping quiet about any official announcements that they may be coming to Florida soon, and they aren't responding to anyone's questions or comments about the topic. I also discovered this ad on Facebook left by a Realtor looking for investors in Publix and Kroger anchored shopping centers in the Tampa area. I'm pretty sure Kroger is coming to Florida, and all of you Kroger fans out on the West Coast of the state may not have to wait much longer to shop there. I'll keep everyone posted if I find out any more about Kroger's possible expansion into Florida.
So until next time,
The Albertsons Florida Blogger