Just this week, Kroger announced it will close all its Triangle market stores. The story was on the front page of the Sunday News & Observer, and all over social media to further disrupt the grocery wars in North Carolina. Is this altogether a bad move? In our honest opinion, NO. Once Kroger bought Harris Teeter in 2016, they never really made in-roads into growing the Kroger brand market share. It makes sense to concentrate on the “homegrown” Harris Teeter model, invest the money and resources there, and close down Kroger stores throughout the Triangle.
Of the 14 Krogers closing, four are being rebranded to Harris Teeter, two will be converted to Food Lion stores, one is opening as a gym, and the remaining locations’ futures are unknown. These changes allow the Harris Teeter brand to grow (although cannibalism is probable) and Food Lion will gain additional market presence to increase its market share.
What do the Kroger store closings mean?
Grocers in the Triangle and North Carolina as a whole have become the greatest disruptor—bigger than online sales, bigger than shrinking floor plans, bigger than rising interest rates and construction costs. The Triangle population is growing so fast we can’t keep up—not with jobs, not with infrastructure and certainly not with housing.
The grocery market is growing but not at a pace that will support an overpopulation of new grocers in the area—Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Whole Foods, Publix, The Fresh Market, Lowe’s, Lidl, Walmart, Aldi, and Sprouts Farmers Market with behemoth Wegmans on the horizon.
Be on the watch for further disruption in the grocery segment including:
- store footprints to shrink in response to online sales and ever-improving logistics
- brand consolidations to improve margins and gain share
- grocers to focus more on fresh and prepared foods, not staples
These changes will certainly not be the death of the grocery store, but it may mean we’ll see the ‘survival of the fittest.’
Interested in learning more? Contact CPDG Principal Beverly Keith with questions or comments.