Friday, December 27, 2013

"Banner Churn" of 2013 may continue into 2014

Supermarket News published an informative year-end story about the many changes that took place this year in the food retail industry. They called it a year of "banner churn."

The article starts by pointing out that the "big three" made major moves. Kroger agreed to buy Harris Teeter, Safeway sold its Canada division and announced that its closing its Dominick's chain in Chicago (only a year after closing all but one of the company's Genuardi's stores), and Supervalu sold 877 stores - including the Albertsons and Acme chains - to an investment group led by Cerberus that includes Kimco and Philadelphia's Lubert Adler.

Regarding the Supervalu deal, Albertsons Chief Executive Robert Miller told Supermarket News that "we're in this for the long haul," and that "we have no plans to sell any of the brands."

Whether Miller is being truthful, or simply truthful for now, is yet to be seen. There are many that don't believe the company will hold on to Acme - or at least the banner's many underperforming stores - for very long.

As for the industry's future, Irene Marks and David Mell of Wells Fargo believe "consolidation and capital markets activity will remain robust well into 2014 as the grocery industry continues to evolve to suit today's eclectic, diverse and conscientious consumer."

To read the Supermarket News story, click here.

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