Thursday, December 1, 2016

Acme to open new store in South Philly property formerly occupied by ShopRite

Acme Markets and The Goldenberg Group announced today that the former ShopRite in South Philadelphia's Snyder Plaza Shopping Center would be renovated and opened as a new Acme supermarket in 2017. The Goldenberg Group owns the property.

The 54,415 square foot store is slated to have a beer and wine shop, and a Starbucks café. In addition, the store's exterior will receive an updated façade and new points of entry. Improvements are planned for other parts of the shopping center as well.

Earlier this year ShopRite relocated to a bigger store on Oregon Avenue that was formerly occupied by Pathmark.

Albertsons on the verge of purchasing Price Chopper

Reports earlier this week state that Albertsons (Acme, Shaw's, Safeway, etc.) is "on the verge" of acquiring Price Chopper, the leading supermarket by market share in the Albany, Schenectady and Glens Falls, NY markets. Price Chopper also has strong market share in Binghamton, NY, Utica, NY, Pittsfield, MA, Worcester, MA and Burlington, VT.

For the better part of this year, Price Chopper has been seeking financial partners to help transform its 135 stores to their new Market 32 format.

Reuters has reported that the price tag would be approximately $1 billion and would not include Price Chopper's real estate assets. Supermarket News estimated that Price Chopper's 2015 sales were $3.7 billion.

The purchase by Albertsons would fill the gap between its Pennsylvania-based Acme and Massachusetts-based Shaw's brands.

Not that it's relevant, but... I grew up in Price Chopper country and my first job was as a stock boy for one of the Clifton Park, NY stores. As an employee, I was mediocre at best (it's safe to say that price labels didn't always make it onto the products at the bottom of the freezer!).

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Fresh Market moving away from its gourmet roots

The Fresh Market debuted lower prices, expanded product offerings and a new logo late last month at three stores in the Triad region of North Carolina. The new look and offerings will expand to 13 more stores in North Carolina on November 30, and then to the company's remaining stores nationwide through early 2018.

Among the changes in effect at the three NC stores, The Fresh Market has doubled the number of aisles and added 1,300 everyday grocery products, including items from Campbell's and Kellogg's, as well as organic and natural brands like Annie's Homegrown and Nature's Path. The company's intention is to transition from being known as a "gourmet specialty chain."

"The reinvention of our stores will place an emphasis on delicious fresh fare, convenience, and health and wellness options," said CEO Rick Ancetti.

Apollo Global Management acquired The Fresh Market in March (see story here:  Apollo Global to purchase The Fresh Market) and shortly thereafter closed 13 stores and delayed the opening of four others.

Woman sues ShopRite after falling on string bean

The New York Daily News reported last month that a woman is suing ShopRite after allegedly tripping over a string bean two years ago. She claims that she was shopping in the store's produce section "when suddenly, without warning, she slipped on a string bean on the floor of the store and violently fell to the floor."

A ShopRite store in Bergen County, NJ is accused of allowing string beans to fall out of the self-service bins and failing to provide walk-off mats or similar safety devices in a spot of the store they knew to be "ultrahazardous." In addition, the suit alleges that ShopRite was negligent by allowing string beans to remain on the floor.

ShopRite has not commented on the case, nor has the string bean.

Sam's Club testing high-end product offerings

Sam's Club CEO Roz Brewer said last month that an ongoing test to see how customers would react to high-end and luxury product offerings has been successful so far. According to Brewer, it provides "a look into the future of where we could go with our business."

Earlier this year a Sam's Club store in Bentonville, AK featured five-figure jewelry items and a massive deli counter with prime U.S. meats and upscale meal solutions, among other high-end offerings. According to Brewer, sales at the site have increased by 4% despite deflation pressures, driven by higher shopping frequency and smaller average baskets. About half of the new sales growth has come from the deli and prepared foods area.

Next year the Walmart-owned membership warehouse chain plans to spend about $700 million in capital expenditures, in part on "enhanced remodels" that will feature some of the premium items offered in the Bentonville test store.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Five Giant stores in Southeastern PA among winning bidders for expired liquor licenses

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) announced winning bidders yesterday for 37 "zombie" liquor licenses, and Giant Food Stores won 11 of them. Interested parties had to submit sealed bids for the licenses, which had expired.

The Giant stores in Southeastern Pennsylvania with winning bids include Bristol Township (Bucks County), Coatesville and East Caln (Chester), and Narberth and Skippack (Montgomery). The Narberth and Skippack licenses sold for $491,300 and $526,000, respectively. According to, the selling price for a license in Montgomery County last year was about $250,000.

Convenience store chain Sheetz bought 15 of the licenses.

The PLCB said that about 1,200 licenses have expired since 2000 and will be sold through auctions in the months and years ahead.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Walter Robb out as Whole Foods co-CEO, will remain on board of directors

Whole Foods announced yesterday that Walter Robb, who has served as co-CEO for the last six years, would no longer serve in that position but will remain as a member of the company's board of directors. John Mackey, with whom Robb has served as co-CEO, will become the sole CEO. The changes will take effect on December 31, 2016.

The announcement came at the same time the company reported fourth quarter results that included some figures below analyst's estimates. For example, comparable store sales fell by 2.6% on a 4.2% store traffic decrease as compared to the same time period a year ago. On the positive side, sales met analyst expectations at $3.5 billion, and were up by 1.7% from the previous year.

Net income increased by 57.1% (to $88 million) as compared to the same period last year.

For 2017, Whole Foods is planning for sales growth between 2.5% and 4.5%, and comps from -2% to flat. 30 new stores are planned in 2017, including six relocations and four new 365 stores.

The company also announced that CFO Glenda Flanagan would retire at the end of 2017. Flanagan has been with Whole Foods for nearly 30 years.