Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year! (And Some Various Updates)

     Happy New Year everyone! I figured I'd better get some of these recent updates out of the way, and what a better time to do so than now as 2016 begins. 2016 is looking to be the year of the "random isolated Florida division grocery store remodels" (turns out, Albertsons isn't the only one joining in on the fun, as we'll see in a moment). However, first up for today, AFB contributor Ross T. has sent in a few pictures showing the progress of the Largo Albertsons' remodel, as of Christmas Eve 2015, and the information he had to share with us:

     "The recently relocated produce area. The Produce dept. was moved to where the sodas were, and the sodas and sports drinks now have aisles on either side. A temporary wall now blocks the old produce and floral area, and it appears that is where the construction crews are keeping their equipment.

     "Another photo of the produce dept"

     "Looking toward the front from the bakery, the wall blocks off the old produce dept. The bakery is still intact although it has been condensed and moved slightly backward."

     "Looking toward the front, the gray rectangle on the top left is where the TVs used to be [two old, and as of recent times unused, CRT televisions used to be present in that spot in the top left of the photo], from the old video rental dept. this is where they are apparently building the Starbucks."

     "The back dairy case, with the meat and seafood departments in the background."

     Thanks again Ross for your photos and updates from the Largo store!

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     In other Florida supermarket news, an anonymous commentor left a link on the Kroger Entering Wisconsin post to an interesting article published in the Nassau County Florida Independent. This article talks about how Florida's lone Harris Teeter store in Fernandina Beach is going to be undergoing a large remodel and expansion project, which will allow the store to grow from 35,000 to 53,000 square feet. The Project includes the addition of an in-store pharmacy, Starbucks, wine bar, and expanded selection of prepared foods (Asian bar, salad bar, etc.). There will also be a cheese department and pizza counter added, along with expansions to the meat, seafood and produce departments. Construction at this store is expected to begin in Spring 2016, and be completed by the end of the year. To read the original article, which has a little more detail, click here

     That lone Harris Teeter store in Fernandina Beach is a remnant of Harris Teeter's ambitious expansion plans in the late 90's, which included their entrance into the Jacksonville area, along with Atlanta and Nashville. The Jacksonville expansion only ever grew to three stores: the Fernandina Beach store right over the FL/GA line, a store in Ponte Vedra Beach near the Jacksonville Beaches, and a store in the affluent Mandarin neighborhood in Jacksonville. The Mandarin store closed in 2004 and is now a Publix, and the Ponte Vedra Beach store closed in 2006 and is now a Fresh Market. Like with Albertsons' remodels, I don't know if this is going to be the start of something big or just a chain trying to keep their small presence in Florida looking good. Personally, I feel that if Harris Teeter's parent company Kroger wants to enter Florida, doing it under the Harris Teeter name would be a bad move (I have nothing against Harris Teeter, by the way). I thank the namesake Kroger stores would have a better name recognition, and end up being more successful in the long run. I also think the lone Harris Teeter stores remaining in Florida and Georgia (their Atlanta expansion didn't work out so well either, and the one HT left in Georgia is located in the central coast of the state in St. Simons) should switch to the Kroger name, and let the Harris Teeter name continue in their longtime strongholds of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states. But that's just my opinion on things. Kroger has been giving Harris Teeter an unusual amount of independence since they bought them, so who knows what's going on.

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     So that's about all for now. More Albertsons coming this Sunday, so be sure to come back and check that out. As far as 2016 post scheduling goes, I'm going for two Sundays a month for store posts (generally every other Sunday), although I decided to throw in two extra posts for January to get the new year off to a good start. Occasionally I may throw in an extra Bonus Buy store if I feel like it. Schedule subject to change at any time though.

Anyway, see you all this Sunday,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger


  1. Harris Teeter currently has one store each in Florida and Georgia:
    Harris Teeter #34, The Shops at Amelia Market, 4800 First Coast Highway, Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034-5413
    Harris Teeter #168, Shops at Sea Island, 600 Sea Island Road Suite 23, Saint Simons Island, Georgia 31522-1781

    Harris Teeter, since being acquired by Kroger, has announced re-entry into the Greenville, South Carolina metropolitan area and exited the Nashville, Tennessee metropolitan area. Improving its Florida and Georgia stores could be a step toward renewing focus in those metropolitan area markets.

    It has been nearly a year since speculation of Kroger acquiring Southeastern Grocers (Bi-Lo, Harvey's, and Winn-Dixie) surfaced. I think Kroger remains interested in expanding across Florida. Its options are limited by growing through its current banners (Kroger and Harris Teeter) or acquiring an existing participant, which is limited to Winn-Dixie.

    I wonder if Kroger will further expand in north Georgia, western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, and western North Carolina. Ingle's has significant presence in these regions. Publix is expanding into them.

    1. I feel pretty confident Kroger still has interest in coming back to Florida at some point, and Albertsons/Safeway might now be concocting some kind of revival plan as well. Either Kroger or Albertsons/Safeway is eventually going to make a bid on Southeastern Grocers/Winn-Dixie just to get all of those Florida stores, which is one of the few desirable traits the company has in terms of acquisition by another operator, along with giving either operator a stronger/expanded presence in other parts of the Southeast. The St. Simons Harris Teeter isn't too much further south from Kroger's existing presence in Savannah, and Fernandina Beach has been the odd one out for quite a few years now, even prior to HT's acquisition by Kroger. Harris Teeter is also doing a lot of northward expansion by opening more stores in Maryland. If the Fernandina store was doing horribly, it would have been axed long ago like the other two Jacksonville area stores. Maybe this is the start of Kroger's plan to make something out of Florida, again.

    2. I do not know if Albertson's considered expanding across the southeastern United States into Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

      Harris Teeter is proceeding with the construction of a distribution center in Caroline County, Virginia. This is a result of additional stores in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

    3. Albertsons had a presence in most of Tennessee beginning in the mid-90's (with stores concentrated around Nashville at first, and acquisitions of the Sessel's chain and some Bruno's stores got them into Memphis and Chattanooga, along with Northern Mississippi and one store in Fort Oglethorpe, GA right over the TN line), with a few others spread out in between. I don't think Albertsons went much further east in Tennessee than Chattanooga, as I don't recall any Knoxville or Tri-Cities area stores ever existing. That division, based out of Nashville, was closed in 2002 with a few of their other weaker divisions at the time, leaving Albertsons' Southeastern US presence limited to Florida and Louisiana. As far as I know, Albertsons never had any plans for expanding into either of the Carolinas or the rest of Georgia outside of the Chattanooga suburbs, although if things went better for them in that area, they probably would have tried eventually.

      Harris Teeter's northern expansion is doing very well, and with a new distribution center, it will open up even more possibilities for them in that area, especially since Kroger has virtually no presence in the Northeast outside of some convenience stores.

    4. If I recall correctly, Publix entered Tennessee through the acquisition of Albertson's stores in the Nashville metropolitan area.

    5. Yes, Publix bought 7 Albertsons stores around Nashville in 2002 when they dissolved their Tennessee division, which got them into Tennessee. They quickly began to grow naturally in Tennessee from there.

    6. Publix has 38 stores currently in Tennessee. Those stores are in Publix's Atlanta Division. Publix has established presences in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Clarksville. It is proceeding with stores in Greeneville and Sevierville. I wonder if Publix will further expand into Memphis, Cookeville, and the tri-cities of Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol.

    7. The eastern Tennessee expansion (Tri-Cities) is already beginning to happen. As Publix begins to build more stores in Western North Carolina (currently there is one in Asheville with one more in the works, and a store planned for Boone), it makes sense to bridge the gap between Asheville and Knoxville. It was just recently announced that Publix is opening a new store in Greeneville, TN, not too far from Johnson City, so and expansion into that area probably won't be too far off. Publix will eventually make it further west in TN toward Memphis, especially if they begin an expansion into Mississippi, which they've been hinting at for a while. Like I said, that's probably further in the future than more stores in the eastern part of the state.

    8. Publix has announced stores in Boone and Weaverville and will announce a store in Hendersonville, all projected to open in 2017. Franklin and Waynesville may not be far behind as Ingle's is planning or is engaged in several store replacement and improvement projects in Macon and Haywood counties.

      Publix has acknowledged the Memphis market. The new McCalla, Alabama distribution center and Interstate 22 should help contribute to new store opportunities in further expansion westward.

    9. The City of Hendersonville, North Carolina just approved plans for Publix at South Market Village. It is projected to open in mid-2017.

  2. Lowe's Foods could be a potential target for acquisition in the Carolinas as well as Bi-Lo. Ingle's would be as well, but I read that the Ingle family isn't really all that interested in selling. In Virginia, Farm Fresh stores could be brought from SuperValu in the Hampton Roads market and sold to another entity at the right price.

    Kroger's retail options north of the Mason-Dixon line, and east of Ohio consist solely of Turkey Hill convenience stores in Pennsylvania, and a maybe a few jewelry stores.The following states have No grocery presence presence by Kroger:

    Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Hawaii, and Rhode Island.

    It is feasible for both banners to expand in Florida if the right distribution network is put in place for each chain. Smaller states than Florida like Illinois, Washington, Colorado, and Missouri all have Kroger successfully operating stores under multiple banners.

    As of now, any talks of Kroger expanding its operations in Florida is nothing more than speculation. Until something definite comes up, I wouldn't be too quick to bet on it, even though Publix will eventually find a competitor in Florida.

    *As a side note, I did hear a spot on the PA system in Kroger advertising Florida strawberries.It isn't a clue or anything, just a coincidence.

    1. Lowe's Foods has been active updating stores to focus on being local. It has enhanced its service departments with original concepts: Chicken Kitchen, Sausageworks, Pick & Prep, Beef Shoppe, Community Table, and The Beer Den. Select stores have fuel centers. None of its stores currently have pharmacies. Lowe's Foods failed in the Charlotte, North Carolina market, but is expanding to the Greenville and Charleston, South Carolina markets.

      Bi-Lo stores could be divested to other participants if it exits additional markets.

      Ingle's had been stagnant in activity for years considering the passing of its founder, Robert P. Ingle, in 2011 and the expansion of its distribution center in Black Mountain, North Carolina in 2012. I know 2 stores are temporarily closed for rebuilding, 1 store is currently expanding, 1 store is currently being replaced, 1 store is planned for expansion, several stores planned for replacement/rebuild, and some additional stores planned. Ingle's stores have several similarities with Kroger and Harris Teeter: food, pharmacy, fuel, Starbucks, and interior decor.

  3. If Publix does indeed build in Bristol-Kingsport-Johnson City, it would be the second market where Publix competes with Kroger's Mid-Atlantic division. (Mid Atlantic operates stores in Raleigh-Durham NC, Virginia, West Virginia, and a small portion of Northeast Tennessee. Store #335 in Bristol, VA would be closest to the TN/VA state line)
    Kroger's Mid-Atlantic and Harris Teeter divisions are the only two divisions to compete with both Publix and Wegman's.

    1. Publix is getting closer to that area, so it will happen soon enough. Publix is also creeping closer to Wegmans territory as well. I don't know if Publix would want to go as for north as the DC suburbs of Virginia, but I could easily see them in Southern VA, so there still might be a buffer between those two chains.

    2. If what the News & Observer (Newspaper out of Raleigh, NC) is reporting here is in fact true. Publix and Wegman's could compete against each other in Cary, NC making it the first time the two chains com pete against each other.

      (Other competitiors include Food Lion, Harris Teeter,Lowe's foods and Kroger)

    3. Wow, I was not expecting Wegmans to enter NC. I thought they would focus on entering more of Eastern New York, New England, and Western PA at this time. Seeing Publix and Wegmans together in the same market is really going to be something if this goes through.

    4. Neither did I. Seeing them both compete in a crowded market with a Kroger presence is going to be interesting. The proposed Wegman's isn't far from a Harris Teeter (that opened the same day as the Publix store in Cary, NC). I believe a chain or two could be squeezed.I could see Kroger or Harris Teeter trying to build a huge (80K ft²+)store in Cary right now.

    5. I agree. This is going to be very interesting to see how it all plays out. North Carolina seems like it's the place to be right now for grocery chains.

  4. Kroger's Mid-Atlantic Division covers the entirety of North Carolina and its Atlanta Division covers the entirety of South Carolina.

    In regards to Kroger, hers is a of its 23 divisions effective for 2016:
    Atlanta Division (Atlanta, Georgia): GA
    Central Division (Indianapolis, Indiana): J
    Cincinnati/Dayton Division (Cincinnati, Ohio): A, E
    City Markets, Incorporated (Grand Junction, Colorado)
    Columbus Division (Columbus, Ohio): N
    Dallas Division (Dallas, Texas): SW
    Delta Division (Memphis, Tennessee): V, Y
    Dillon Stores (Hutchinson, Kansas)
    Food 4 Less (Compton, California)
    Fred Meyer Stores, Incorporated (Portland, Oregon)
    Fry's Foods Stores of Arizona, Incorporated (Tolleson, Arizona)
    Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Incorporated (Matthews, North Carolina)
    Houston Division (Shenandoah, Texas): SW
    Jay C (Seymour, Indiana)
    King Soopers (Denver, Colorado)
    Louisville Division (Louisville, Kentucky): L
    Michigan Division (Novi, Michigan): D
    Mid-Atlantic Division (Roanoke, Virginia): R
    Nashville Division (Nashville, Tennessee): U
    Quality Food Centers (Bellevue, Washington)
    Ralph's Grocery Company (Compton, California)
    Roundy's (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
    Smith's Food and Drug Centers, Incorporated (Salt Lake City, Utah)

    Kroger's store numbers are determined by a prefix for the corresponding division, then a number.
    Kroger's pharmacy use phone numbers instead of store numbers for prescription refills.

    The Southwest Division is split into two divisions: the Dallas Division and the Houston Division.
    Roundy's is a subsidiary acquired by Kroger.

    1. Actually, Kroger does in fact use division numbers as well as letters. Harris Teeter briefly had its own numbers but I'm not sure if it's still the case.

      You are correct with the phone numbers being separate for pharmacies.

      Divisions containing the actual Kroger banner are also referred to KMAs.

    2. I am not familiar with Kroger's division numbers. Could you elaborate on this?

    3. Kroger uses 3 digit division numbers to identify KMAs/Divisions. Many don't know it, but it does show up sometimes.Since this is about the general south, I'll give out a few


      011- Atlanta
      025- Delta
      026- Nashville
      029- Mid-Atlantic

      Harris Teeter briefly had the number 097 for its division but I do not know if it is still in use.

  5. Using Kroger's website, accessing the locator, and entering the city for each division of Kroger, I came upon at least 38 divisions of supermarkets/hypermarkets, department stores, jewelry stores, and convenience stores:
    011 - Atlanta (Atlanta, Georgia)
    014 - Cincinnati/Dayton (Cincinnati, Ohio)
    016 - Columbus (Columbus, Ohio)
    018 - Michigan (Novi, Michigan)
    021 - Central (Indianapolis, Indiana)
    024 - Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky)
    025 - Delta (Memphis, Tennessee)
    026 - Nashville (Nashville, Tennessee)
    029 - Mid-Atlantic (Roanoke, Virginia)
    034 - Dallas (Dallas, Texas)
    034 - Houston (Shenandoah, Texas)
    090 - Jay C (Seymour, Indiana)
    097 - Harris Teeter (Matthews, North Carolina)
    615 - Dillon's (Hutchinson, Kansas)
    620 - City Markets (Grand Junction, Colorado)
    620 - King Soopers (Denver, Colorado)
    660 - Fry's (Tolleson, Arizona)
    670 - Turkey Hill (Lancaster County, Pennsylvania)
    671 - Tom Thumb
    672 - Kwik Shop (Hutchinson, Kansas)
    673 - Loaf 'n Jug
    701 - Fred Meyer (Portland, Oregon)
    702 - Fred Meyer Jewelers (Portland, Oregon)
    703 - Ralph's (Compton, California)
    704 - Food 4 Less (Compton, California)
    705 - Quality Food Center (Bellevue, Washington)
    706 - Smith's (Salt Lake City, Utah)
    708 - Food 4 Less
    851 - The Little Clinic-Fry's (Tolleson, Arizona)
    852 - The Little Clinic-City Market/King Soopers
    853 - The Little Clinic-Cincinnati(Cincinnati, Ohio)
    854 - The Little Clinic-Columbus/Michigan
    855 - The Little Clinic-Delta/Nashville
    856 - The Little Clinic-Atlanta (Atlanta, Georgia)
    857 - The Little Clinic-Delta (Memphis, Tennessee)
    858 - The Little Clinic-Central/Louisville
    859 - The Little Clinic-Mid-Atlantic (Roanoke, Virginia)
    861 - The Little Clinic-Dallas (Dallas, Texas)

    Both Dallas and Houston divisions share division number 034.
    Roundy's division number is not yet known.

  6. One other thing to note: most of the chains Kroger acquired via Dillons are in the 600s and most of the chains acquired via FredMeyer are in the 700s