DFW Tom Thumb/Albertsons/MArket Street Observations

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Re: DFW Tom Thumb/Albertsons/MArket Street Observations

Post by architect » May 20th, 2017, 8:08 am

Finally, the long-promised new Grapevine Tom Thumb photos:

I visited this store late on opening night, around 8 PM or so. The store was moderately trafficked,but according to employees, traffic was much heavier earlier in the day. Overall, I was very impressed! The store was well-stocked, and the Colorful Lifestyle decor really works well with the Randalls "New Generation" footprint from the late 90's-early 2000's. Interestingly, the lighting had also been replaced around the perimeter areas of the store and over the registers similar to other locations, but the fixtures used were of a different type which were substantially brighter. It honestly felt upscale, but not in a fake sense like many Lifestyle-decored stores. It will be interesting to see if this decor is used anywhere else in Texas beyond these initial two locations.

Photos:
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Re: DFW Tom Thumb/Albertsons/MArket Street Observations

Post by pseudo3d » May 20th, 2017, 8:52 am

The thing that bothers me about these two stores was that the Albertsons they were supposed to keep (larger stores btw too) will probably end up closing without replacement (and of course, they never got the Lake Highlands Albertsons). I'm also bothered at what appears to be the deterioration of Market Street. Come on, get your act together!

It is clearly a New Generation era store though (one of the last before Safeway, Tarrant CAD says it was built in 1998), with the two sides of the store (the "perishable" and "non-perishable" area) separated. This was based after Wegmans (not hearsay--they admitted this) and was cloned by other stores as well (including H-E-B). With Albertsons now in control of now what is the "South" division from Dallas to Denham Springs, they should focus on more than the Dallas stores. While looking into Oklahoma is a nice thought, they should try to expand more into Texas, especially where areas could use another grocery store. Bastrop, Texas (near Austin) is rapidly growing and only has an H-E-B Plus and a Walmart Supercenter. College Station-Bryan has crowded grocery stores enough that H-E-B wants to open a fifth store in the area (a large one), and despite the two Kroger stores (both no longer 24 hours but crowded during day time hours), its clear that the market will be "locked out" soon.

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Re: DFW Tom Thumb/Albertsons/Market Street Observations

Post by architect » May 20th, 2017, 10:12 am

pseudo3d wrote:The thing that bothers me about these two stores was that the Albertsons they were supposed to keep (larger stores btw too) will probably end up closing without replacement (and of course, they never got the Lake Highlands Albertsons). I'm also bothered at what appears to be the deterioration of Market Street. Come on, get your act together!

It is clearly a New Generation era store though (one of the last before Safeway, Tarrant CAD says it was built in 1998), with the two sides of the store (the "perishable" and "non-perishable" area) separated. This was based after Wegmans (not hearsay--they admitted this) and was cloned by other stores as well (including H-E-B). With Albertsons now in control of now what is the "South" division from Dallas to Denham Springs, they should focus on more than the Dallas stores. While looking into Oklahoma is a nice thought, they should try to expand more into Texas, especially where areas could use another grocery store. Bastrop, Texas (near Austin) is rapidly growing and only has an H-E-B Plus and a Walmart Supercenter. College Station-Bryan has crowded grocery stores enough that H-E-B wants to open a fifth store in the area (a large one), and despite the two Kroger stores (both no longer 24 hours but crowded during day time hours), its clear that the market will be "locked out" soon.


Although both of these stores are located in close proximity to existing Albertsons locations, I somehow have my doubts that the Colleyville store will be closing in the near future. Although this store is older, it is in a prime location due to being directly adjacent to the Glade Parks development, and seems to pull strong traffic (a proposed HEB or Kroger development with Glade Parks could certainly change this whole scenario though). However, the portions of Grapevine immediately to the north of this store are extremely upscale, and are definitely outside of Albertsons' target demographic. By reopening this Tom Thumb, the Albertsons to the south can be tailored more towards the middle-class areas to the south of Glade Parks. The shopping along this stretch of 121 serves a wide geographic area, so a range of grocery options are actually needed here considering all of the current growth which is taking place.

On the other hand, it would not surprise me if the McKinney store closes within the next year or so. Now that a brand new upscale Tom Thumb is pulling customers from the Eldorado Country Club area and surrounding neighborhoods west of 75, there is simply little customer base left for this Albertsons considering their reputation for high prices. Potential shoppers from the lower-middle class neighborhoods to the north surrounding Downtown McKinney are unlikely to shop this location, as there are a variety of less-expensive grocers nearby (including Winco, Kroger and Walmart).

Do remember that despite the success of the Tom Thumb banner in DFW, the brand is perceived as being more upscale (in theory), and as a result more expensive (in reality). The demographic that Tom Thumb is attracting is simply wanting a clean, classy, straightforward shopping experience without dealing with sometimes unpleasant shoppers or hassles that come with a large store (Walmart). Hence, the reason why the loyalty card and Just for U need to be eliminated or restructured, and pricing needs to be lowered accordingly to be competitive with Kroger's card pricing. If they do that, then they have the potential to actually expand their shopper base, and potentially work their way up to being a market leader again (under the Tom Thumb banner).

Overall, I feel like Albertsons is gradually positioning their namesake banner to be discontinued in DFW at some point in the future. For the first time this week, I actually received a co-branded Market Street-Albertsons (not Albertsons Market) ad with a variety of coupons for Signature-branded items. No mention of Tom Thumb was made (up until now, all combined advertising has been Tom Thumb-Albertsons). Based on new store announcements in Mansfield and Prosper, it seems that Albertsons is finally investing into the Market Street brand in DFW again. The majority of successful Albertsons locations which remain are on the Fort Worth side of the market, which in general are the same areas which will be more familiar with the United banners due to their proximity to and connection with West Texas. It would not surprise me to see Albertsons' upscale and middle class successful locations converted to Market Street, while low-end or marginal locations are simply closed (which would likely be killed off by the growth of Aldi, Lidl and Walmart anyway).

Growth outside of DFW for Albertsons is a completely different story. Honestly, considering their low market share in Houston compared to Kroger and HEB, it would not surprise me to see Randalls pull out completely if another grocer offered to buy their stores in the market. Running truck from Roanoke to Houston simply does not make sense for a fleet of 29 stores, many of which are pulling low volumes compared to nearby Kroger and HEB locations. The same story exists in Austin, although considering that Randalls still has a decent geographic distribution of stores in the market, they could potentially make a comeback, particularly if they continue to grow and focus on replacing/upgrading some of their more outdated stores in the area. College Station is in an odd predicament, as much of the population is tied to A&M and has moved from the larger markets throughout the state. Although they could potentially open a store there, what banner would it even operate under? The only way I see this as being likely would be if Kroger put their Bryan/College Station stores up for sale, giving Albertsons a potential entry point.

As far as the Lake Highlands store goes, as I've said before, the reason why HEB is likely holding onto the Lake Highlands store for now is due to the fact that it could be their only opportunity to operate a store in the area down the road, whether as a Central Market or a traditional HEB. There is not exactly a surplus of land in the area, and the surrounding neighborhoods are quickly moving upscale with an influx of young professionals and families, giving this site excellent demographics.

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Re: DFW Tom Thumb/Albertsons/Market Street Observations

Post by pseudo3d » May 20th, 2017, 12:28 pm

architect wrote:
pseudo3d wrote:The thing that bothers me about these two stores was that the Albertsons they were supposed to keep (larger stores btw too) will probably end up closing without replacement (and of course, they never got the Lake Highlands Albertsons). I'm also bothered at what appears to be the deterioration of Market Street. Come on, get your act together!

It is clearly a New Generation era store though (one of the last before Safeway, Tarrant CAD says it was built in 1998), with the two sides of the store (the "perishable" and "non-perishable" area) separated. This was based after Wegmans (not hearsay--they admitted this) and was cloned by other stores as well (including H-E-B). With Albertsons now in control of now what is the "South" division from Dallas to Denham Springs, they should focus on more than the Dallas stores. While looking into Oklahoma is a nice thought, they should try to expand more into Texas, especially where areas could use another grocery store. Bastrop, Texas (near Austin) is rapidly growing and only has an H-E-B Plus and a Walmart Supercenter. College Station-Bryan has crowded grocery stores enough that H-E-B wants to open a fifth store in the area (a large one), and despite the two Kroger stores (both no longer 24 hours but crowded during day time hours), its clear that the market will be "locked out" soon.


Although both of these stores are located in close proximity to existing Albertsons locations, I somehow have my doubts that the Colleyville store will be closing in the near future. Although this store is older, it is in a prime location due to being directly adjacent to the Glade Parks development, and seems to pull strong traffic (a proposed HEB or Kroger development with Glade Parks could certainly change this whole scenario though). However, the portions of Grapevine immediately to the north of this store are extremely upscale, and are definitely outside of Albertsons' target demographic. By reopening this Tom Thumb, the Albertsons to the south can be tailored more towards the middle-class areas to the south of Glade Parks. The shopping along this stretch of 121 serves a wide geographic area, so a range of grocery options are actually needed here considering all of the current growth which is taking place.

On the other hand, it would not surprise me if the McKinney store closes within the next year or so. Now that a brand new upscale Tom Thumb is pulling customers from the Eldorado Country Club area and surrounding neighborhoods west of 75, there is simply little customer base left for this Albertsons considering their reputation for high prices. Potential shoppers from the lower-middle class neighborhoods to the north surrounding Downtown McKinney are unlikely to shop this location, as there are a variety of less-expensive grocers nearby (including Winco, Kroger and Walmart).

Do remember that despite the success of the Tom Thumb banner in DFW, the brand is perceived as being more upscale (in theory), and as a result more expensive (in reality). The demographic that Tom Thumb is attracting is simply wanting a clean, classy, straightforward shopping experience without dealing with sometimes unpleasant shoppers or hassles that come with a large store (Walmart). Hence, the reason why the loyalty card and Just for U need to be eliminated or restructured, and pricing needs to be lowered accordingly to be competitive with Kroger's card pricing. If they do that, then they have the potential to actually expand their shopper base, and potentially work their way up to being a market leader again (under the Tom Thumb banner).

Overall, I feel like Albertsons is gradually positioning their namesake banner to be discontinued in DFW at some point in the future. For the first time this week, I actually received a co-branded Market Street-Albertsons (not Albertsons Market) ad with a variety of coupons for Signature-branded items. No mention of Tom Thumb was made (up until now, all combined advertising has been Tom Thumb-Albertsons). Based on new store announcements in Mansfield and Prosper, it seems that Albertsons is finally investing into the Market Street brand in DFW again. The majority of successful Albertsons locations which remain are on the Fort Worth side of the market, which in general are the same areas which will be more familiar with the United banners due to their proximity to and connection with West Texas. It would not surprise me to see Albertsons' upscale and middle class successful locations converted to Market Street, while low-end or marginal locations are simply closed (which would likely be killed off by the growth of Aldi, Lidl and Walmart anyway).

Growth outside of DFW for Albertsons is a completely different story. Honestly, considering their low market share in Houston compared to Kroger and HEB, it would not surprise me to see Randalls pull out completely if another grocer offered to buy their stores in the market. Running truck from Roanoke to Houston simply does not make sense for a fleet of 29 stores, many of which are pulling low volumes compared to nearby Kroger and HEB locations. The same story exists in Austin, although considering that Randalls still has a decent geographic distribution of stores in the market, they could potentially make a comeback, particularly if they continue to grow and focus on replacing/upgrading some of their more outdated stores in the area. College Station is in an odd predicament, as much of the population is tied to A&M and has moved from the larger markets throughout the state. Although they could potentially open a store there, what banner would it even operate under? The only way I see this as being likely would be if Kroger put their Bryan/College Station stores up for sale, giving Albertsons a potential entry point.

As far as the Lake Highlands store goes, as I've said before, the reason why HEB is likely holding onto the Lake Highlands store for now is due to the fact that it could be their only opportunity to operate a store in the area down the road, whether as a Central Market or a traditional HEB. There is not exactly a surplus of land in the area, and the surrounding neighborhoods are quickly moving upscale with an influx of young professionals and families, giving this site excellent demographics.


In Dallas-Fort Worth, combining Market Street and Albertsons seems to indicate that the DFW Market Street stores have moved under the South division (possibly part of the re-alignment that shifted Albuquerque over to United), though the ads don't seem to indicate that (they're also now doing curbside/delivery service under the "StreetSide" name, which I found cool).

It is frustrating that Tom Thumb is still pushing a card that Albertsons doesn't use, which would be disastrous if they continue to overwrite what's left of the Albertsons in Dallas. And if Market Street DFW is now in South, why are they still using the three names at all?

In Austin, despite being a distance from Roanoke and well behind H-E-B in terms of market share, Randalls does need work. Some of the older, smaller stores (like that early 1960s era store which you thought was a Safeway but was really Rylander's) may have to stay that way just due to land restraints though they should break out of their shell and start building 70k-90k square foot stores in the suburbs. Distribution should work--remember, before Randalls landed there in the 1990s, the Tom Thumb stores (which Randalls had rebranded) were getting supplied from Dallas (the Albertsons stores that were there only were supplied from Dallas for four years, though--they were part of the San Antonio division).

In Houston, there are some options if they build stores and properly merchandise the stores. Investing in the Midtown store was a good step but is not enough to save the market. They need a third party distribution partner for at least some elements of the market.

In Louisiana, the situation is less dire but it's even farther from Dallas. Partnering with AWG in Slidell will give the Louisiana stores a convenient nearby DC (closer than anything they've had before, whether it be Houston or that MS SuperValu facility).

In College Station, it will have to be competitive with Kroger and H-E-B to survive. It makes less sense now logistically since Randalls trucks don't go through CS anymore (which I still don't understand why they did). Despite Kroger's scale-back and refusal to invest further (apparently, plans were to open a Kroger Marketplace on the growing and underserved west side) that seems to have fallen through, the chances of them selling to Albertsons are zero unless Albertsons and Kroger did some sort of store swap. Albertsons and Randalls both opened stores in 1991, with Albertsons gaining a second when the Skaggs Alpha Beta (Jewel-Osco) store was acquired in 1992. Then Randalls closed its massive 80k square foot store in 1997 and Albertsons bought it, closing the Skaggs location (plans were made to renovate it and reopen it in the early 2000s but that never happened). Then a third Albertsons opened in 2002 (the same time the Houston stores were closing) as part of an urban renewal development but it did terribly and was the first to go when LLC took over. Then the 1991 store closed and was sold to Walmart (part of it was torn down just for Walmart's physical expansion and the rest became storage, only now is the front half of the store becoming a trampoline park), but the 1997 store remained up until 2011 when it was sold to H-E-B, which closed it and is now owned by a tutoring company located in the adjacent shops, which fills the parking lot to cram into a small room surely not inspected by the fire department). The hulking corpse of the store is a huge eyesore but its also a bit difficult to access. In this case, the best brand would still be Randalls despite the original store being nicer in the past. H-E-B's fifth store will be large and try to tackle the underdeveloped west area but will technically be on the east side. Logistically, it shouldn't be anymore difficult than Austin. The highway to the area from Waco has a few stoplights but is largely a divided four-lane highway with far less congestion than I-35.

In Waco, H-E-B rules with five stores, three of them Plus stores (there used to be six stores, two of them Plus, but two closed for an additional Plus, the other Plus stores consist of a new-build that was directly behind a regular store, and an expanded store). Kroger and Randalls never operated here (at least since the 1960s), but Safeway and AppleTree did, with the stores being sold to Winn-Dixie, which continued on until the Texas division closed in 2002. The only two stores Albertsons had was one built in the early 1990s and failed within three years, and one that was built as Skaggs Supercenter (before being sold to Albertsons in 2002). This too was closed in 2006. The biggest chance Randalls has here is south of Hewitt or perhaps near Baylor.

They still have the opportunity though I don't know if they'll take it. Most seem pretty risky.

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Re: DFW Tom Thumb/Albertsons/Market Street Observations

Post by architect » May 20th, 2017, 3:11 pm

pseudo3d wrote:
architect wrote:
pseudo3d wrote:The thing that bothers me about these two stores was that the Albertsons they were supposed to keep (larger stores btw too) will probably end up closing without replacement (and of course, they never got the Lake Highlands Albertsons). I'm also bothered at what appears to be the deterioration of Market Street. Come on, get your act together!

It is clearly a New Generation era store though (one of the last before Safeway, Tarrant CAD says it was built in 1998), with the two sides of the store (the "perishable" and "non-perishable" area) separated. This was based after Wegmans (not hearsay--they admitted this) and was cloned by other stores as well (including H-E-B). With Albertsons now in control of now what is the "South" division from Dallas to Denham Springs, they should focus on more than the Dallas stores. While looking into Oklahoma is a nice thought, they should try to expand more into Texas, especially where areas could use another grocery store. Bastrop, Texas (near Austin) is rapidly growing and only has an H-E-B Plus and a Walmart Supercenter. College Station-Bryan has crowded grocery stores enough that H-E-B wants to open a fifth store in the area (a large one), and despite the two Kroger stores (both no longer 24 hours but crowded during day time hours), its clear that the market will be "locked out" soon.


Although both of these stores are located in close proximity to existing Albertsons locations, I somehow have my doubts that the Colleyville store will be closing in the near future. Although this store is older, it is in a prime location due to being directly adjacent to the Glade Parks development, and seems to pull strong traffic (a proposed HEB or Kroger development with Glade Parks could certainly change this whole scenario though). However, the portions of Grapevine immediately to the north of this store are extremely upscale, and are definitely outside of Albertsons' target demographic. By reopening this Tom Thumb, the Albertsons to the south can be tailored more towards the middle-class areas to the south of Glade Parks. The shopping along this stretch of 121 serves a wide geographic area, so a range of grocery options are actually needed here considering all of the current growth which is taking place.

On the other hand, it would not surprise me if the McKinney store closes within the next year or so. Now that a brand new upscale Tom Thumb is pulling customers from the Eldorado Country Club area and surrounding neighborhoods west of 75, there is simply little customer base left for this Albertsons considering their reputation for high prices. Potential shoppers from the lower-middle class neighborhoods to the north surrounding Downtown McKinney are unlikely to shop this location, as there are a variety of less-expensive grocers nearby (including Winco, Kroger and Walmart).

Do remember that despite the success of the Tom Thumb banner in DFW, the brand is perceived as being more upscale (in theory), and as a result more expensive (in reality). The demographic that Tom Thumb is attracting is simply wanting a clean, classy, straightforward shopping experience without dealing with sometimes unpleasant shoppers or hassles that come with a large store (Walmart). Hence, the reason why the loyalty card and Just for U need to be eliminated or restructured, and pricing needs to be lowered accordingly to be competitive with Kroger's card pricing. If they do that, then they have the potential to actually expand their shopper base, and potentially work their way up to being a market leader again (under the Tom Thumb banner).

Overall, I feel like Albertsons is gradually positioning their namesake banner to be discontinued in DFW at some point in the future. For the first time this week, I actually received a co-branded Market Street-Albertsons (not Albertsons Market) ad with a variety of coupons for Signature-branded items. No mention of Tom Thumb was made (up until now, all combined advertising has been Tom Thumb-Albertsons). Based on new store announcements in Mansfield and Prosper, it seems that Albertsons is finally investing into the Market Street brand in DFW again. The majority of successful Albertsons locations which remain are on the Fort Worth side of the market, which in general are the same areas which will be more familiar with the United banners due to their proximity to and connection with West Texas. It would not surprise me to see Albertsons' upscale and middle class successful locations converted to Market Street, while low-end or marginal locations are simply closed (which would likely be killed off by the growth of Aldi, Lidl and Walmart anyway).

Growth outside of DFW for Albertsons is a completely different story. Honestly, considering their low market share in Houston compared to Kroger and HEB, it would not surprise me to see Randalls pull out completely if another grocer offered to buy their stores in the market. Running truck from Roanoke to Houston simply does not make sense for a fleet of 29 stores, many of which are pulling low volumes compared to nearby Kroger and HEB locations. The same story exists in Austin, although considering that Randalls still has a decent geographic distribution of stores in the market, they could potentially make a comeback, particularly if they continue to grow and focus on replacing/upgrading some of their more outdated stores in the area. College Station is in an odd predicament, as much of the population is tied to A&M and has moved from the larger markets throughout the state. Although they could potentially open a store there, what banner would it even operate under? The only way I see this as being likely would be if Kroger put their Bryan/College Station stores up for sale, giving Albertsons a potential entry point.

As far as the Lake Highlands store goes, as I've said before, the reason why HEB is likely holding onto the Lake Highlands store for now is due to the fact that it could be their only opportunity to operate a store in the area down the road, whether as a Central Market or a traditional HEB. There is not exactly a surplus of land in the area, and the surrounding neighborhoods are quickly moving upscale with an influx of young professionals and families, giving this site excellent demographics.


In Dallas-Fort Worth, combining Market Street and Albertsons seems to indicate that the DFW Market Street stores have moved under the South division (possibly part of the re-alignment that shifted Albuquerque over to United), though the ads don't seem to indicate that (they're also now doing curbside/delivery service under the "StreetSide" name, which I found cool).

It is frustrating that Tom Thumb is still pushing a card that Albertsons doesn't use, which would be disastrous if they continue to overwrite what's left of the Albertsons in Dallas. And if Market Street DFW is now in South, why are they still using the three names at all?

In Austin, despite being a distance from Roanoke and well behind H-E-B in terms of market share, Randalls does need work. Some of the older, smaller stores (like that early 1960s era store which you thought was a Safeway but was really Rylander's) may have to stay that way just due to land restraints though they should break out of their shell and start building 70k-90k square foot stores in the suburbs. Distribution should work--remember, before Randalls landed there in the 1990s, the Tom Thumb stores (which Randalls had rebranded) were getting supplied from Dallas (the Albertsons stores that were there only were supplied from Dallas for four years, though--they were part of the San Antonio division).

In Houston, there are some options if they build stores and properly merchandise the stores. Investing in the Midtown store was a good step but is not enough to save the market. They need a third party distribution partner for at least some elements of the market.

In Louisiana, the situation is less dire but it's even farther from Dallas. Partnering with AWG in Slidell will give the Louisiana stores a convenient nearby DC (closer than anything they've had before, whether it be Houston or that MS SuperValu facility).

In College Station, it will have to be competitive with Kroger and H-E-B to survive. It makes less sense now logistically since Randalls trucks don't go through CS anymore (which I still don't understand why they did). Despite Kroger's scale-back and refusal to invest further (apparently, plans were to open a Kroger Marketplace on the growing and underserved west side) that seems to have fallen through, the chances of them selling to Albertsons are zero unless Albertsons and Kroger did some sort of store swap. Albertsons and Randalls both opened stores in 1991, with Albertsons gaining a second when the Skaggs Alpha Beta (Jewel-Osco) store was acquired in 1992. Then Randalls closed its massive 80k square foot store in 1997 and Albertsons bought it, closing the Skaggs location (plans were made to renovate it and reopen it in the early 2000s but that never happened). Then a third Albertsons opened in 2002 (the same time the Houston stores were closing) as part of an urban renewal development but it did terribly and was the first to go when LLC took over. Then the 1991 store closed and was sold to Walmart (part of it was torn down just for Walmart's physical expansion and the rest became storage, only now is the front half of the store becoming a trampoline park), but the 1997 store remained up until 2011 when it was sold to H-E-B, which closed it and is now owned by a tutoring company located in the adjacent shops, which fills the parking lot to cram into a small room surely not inspected by the fire department). The hulking corpse of the store is a huge eyesore but its also a bit difficult to access. In this case, the best brand would still be Randalls despite the original store being nicer in the past. H-E-B's fifth store will be large and try to tackle the underdeveloped west area but will technically be on the east side. Logistically, it shouldn't be anymore difficult than Austin. The highway to the area from Waco has a few stoplights but is largely a divided four-lane highway with far less congestion than I-35.

In Waco, H-E-B rules with five stores, three of them Plus stores (there used to be six stores, two of them Plus, but two closed for an additional Plus, the other Plus stores consist of a new-build that was directly behind a regular store, and an expanded store). Kroger and Randalls never operated here (at least since the 1960s), but Safeway and AppleTree did, with the stores being sold to Winn-Dixie, which continued on until the Texas division closed in 2002. The only two stores Albertsons had was one built in the early 1990s and failed within three years, and one that was built as Skaggs Supercenter (before being sold to Albertsons in 2002). This too was closed in 2006. The biggest chance Randalls has here is south of Hewitt or perhaps near Baylor.

They still have the opportunity though I don't know if they'll take it. Most seem pretty risky.


Honestly, I am just as frustrated as you by Albertsons management decisions within DFW. When they acquired the Tom Thumb stores, they gained a brand that had certainly been damaged under Safway, but still had an extensive legacy and decent customer loyalty within the market. Since then, they have become far too inconsistant operationally. When I visited the aforementioned Grapevine location, the store was well-merchandised and could be a strong competitor to any potential Kroger or HEB if pricing was simply improved and the Reward Card was eliminated. Other excellent locations I have frequently visited service and selection wise include Coppell (Sandy Lake/Denton Tap), Richardson (Coit/Campbell and Custer/Renner), Plano (Coit/Legacy) and Dallas (Preston/Belt Line). Interestingly, all of these stores were built under Randalls' leadership, and are large stores with a wide product selection (although expensive) and management that is willing to buck whatever clueless trend Albertsons is attempting to push at the time (for example, several of these locations had far less Monopoly signage than normal this year, so the stores felt far less like a flea market). On the other hand, some stores I used to visit quite often have consistently poor service, to the point that I no longer frequent those locations (examples include Northwest Highway/75 and Skillman/Royal in Dallas, particularly the former). Although pricing at these stores was ridiculous under Safeway, at least the service and shopping experience across the chain was generally consistent (Lifestyle really helped with this). It seems that Albertsons can't decide whether they want the Tom Thumb banner to imitate Neiman's or Walmart within the grocery world.

At this point, the Albertsons banner within DFW is so tainted that their best move would be to eliminate it completely. Although Albertsons was once a leader in the market, their presence is almost irrelevant at this point. When you are down to one store in all of Collin County, two stores remaining in Dallas proper, and no stores in the majority of the upscale growing suburbs across the region (Southlake, Grapevine, Flower Mound, Coppell, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney (outside of one remaining store), Wylie, Rockwall, Mansfield) you are in trouble. Although they are still strong in Fort Worth and the surrounding suburbs, a substantial portion of these stores are in low-end locations which simply cannot support Albertsons' business model over the long haul. Market Street is likely the long term answer for the few remaining Albertsons locations in upscale areas which are still performing strongly, particularly surrounding Fort Worth.

Personally, I think that Albertsons really needs to focus in on DFW before investing in other areas of the state. DFW has no mainstream HEB presence yet, so by correcting course and streamlining/strengthening their operations in DFW, they could keep Kroger and Walmart more under control while also preparing themselves competitively if HEB does decide to expand northward in the future. As you said, expansion/reexpansion to either Waco or College Station would be extremely risky. Likewise, attempting to regain market share in Houston is likely a lost cause, due to Randalls being so far behind from a real-estate standpoint, particularly in the fastest growing suburban areas around the city. Austin is the only other Texas market in which Albertsons is even somewhat relevant these days, but they will only stay relevant these if they actively expand/upgrade their store base in the area.

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Re: DFW Tom Thumb/Albertsons/MArket Street Observations

Post by architect » August 20th, 2017, 1:49 pm

I cannot confirm if this store is receiving a banner change, but at bare minimum, the Albertsons at 6220 US Hwy 287, Arlington, TX 76017 is receiving a remodel. This store already had LLC decor, and based on Google photos, it appears that the work (back in June and July) centered around the front end, bakery area, and new flooring throughout (removing the final traces of Theme Park decor). So far, I have seen no overt signs of a new decor package, so this could just be a refresh similar to the one which the Richardson Albertsons received.

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Re: DFW Tom Thumb/Albertsons/MArket Street Observations

Post by architect » September 7th, 2017, 8:03 pm

architect wrote:I cannot confirm if this store is receiving a banner change, but at bare minimum, the Albertsons at 6220 US Hwy 287, Arlington, TX 76017 is receiving a remodel. This store already had LLC decor, and based on Google photos, it appears that the work (back in June and July) centered around the front end, bakery area, and new flooring throughout (removing the final traces of Theme Park decor). So far, I have seen no overt signs of a new decor package, so this could just be a refresh similar to the one which the Richardson Albertsons received.


Update on this store: This location is retaining the Albertsons banner and its LLC decor, but is just receiving a refresh, similar to the Richardson Albertsons.

In addition, the Euless store also recently received LLC decor along with an overall refresh (this store desperately needed it as there is a newly renovated/expanded Kroger just across the street). Since this store is newly renovated, it likely precludes the former Tom Thumb/Minyard Sun Fresh down the street from reopening as a Tom Thumb.

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Re: DFW Tom Thumb/Albertsons/MArket Street Observations

Post by architect » April 15th, 2018, 7:27 pm

A couple of DFW updates from this weekend:

On Saturday afternoon, I made a quick stop at the Lovers/Greenville Tom Thumb. Traditionally, this has been one of the chain's better performers, due mostly to it's size and it's location near both the Park Cities and adjacent to the Village Apartments (a large grouping of apartment complexes mostly filled with young professionals). Even under Safeway's leadership, this store would traditionally have a full parking lot on the weekends. However, over the past year-year and a half or so, traffic has noticeably dropped off at this store. On weekends when the parking lots of both the nearby Central Market and the Kroger just to the south at Mockingbird/Greenville are completely full and customers are circling the lot for parking spaces, this Tom Thumb frequently has an alarming amount of parking available (yesterday, I saw several spaces available almost immediately in front of the entrance doors). Once inside, the picture does not look any better. Yesterday, there were only about 15 or so shoppers in the entire store at around 3 PM (usually, a high traffic period for grocers). Clearly, most of the cars in the parking lot were either employee vehicles or patrons at an extremely high-traffic LA Fitness next door. I have also noticed a similar pattern during weekday after-work hours, where this store is virtually empty. I don't know what is causing this store to perform so poorly, but clearly something has to change. Maybe shoppers are just frustrated by the insane prices which have increased over the past few months in order to cover the costs of the Monopoly promotion? A similar situation is also occurring at the nearby Northwest Highway/75 store, which was traditionally another strong performer under Randalls/Safeway.

Secondly, earlier today, I was driving up in Carrollton and noticed that the Winco Foods which has been under construction for some time now has finally opened. The lot was absolutely packed, and traffic was even backing up onto the service road of the Bush Turnpike. Meanwhile, at the Albertsons just down Josey, the parking lot was virtually empty, and when I decided to go inside to check things out inside, there were maybe 5 shoppers in the store, on a Sunday afternoon. If Winco keeps up their pace at their location, I forsee our oh so familiar "Store Closing! Liquidation Sale!" banner popping up on the front of this store over the coming months.

Clearly, Albertsons has some work to do, and at this point, I am not confident in their ability to seriously compete in the Texas market. They have impressed with some of their new/renovated stores, but if pricing and service both do not improve, I only see a downhill path for them from here. Even Kroger (which is noticeably cutting costs in DFW) is managing to still bring in shoppers.

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Re: DFW Tom Thumb/Albertsons/MArket Street Observations

Post by architect » April 27th, 2018, 8:05 pm

In an interesting twist, Albertsons has made a slight tweak to Tom Thumb's advertising tagline which could be an indication of things to come. Shortly after Albertsons acquired Safeway, Albertsons changed the advertising tagline for Tom Thumb from "Ingredients for Life" to "Proudly serving North Texas since 1948." This change was reflected both in print ads and in the typical Safeway-style radio jingles with the brand and tagline at the end. However, over these past couple of weeks, I have come across both radio and print ads which simply state "Proudly serving you since 1948" without reference to North Texas. This may simply be an advertising tweak, but does anyone think that this could also be an indication that Albertsons is considering expanding the Tom Thumb brand outside of the DFW area?

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Re: DFW Tom Thumb/Albertsons/MArket Street Observations

Post by architect » May 20th, 2018, 8:48 am

In other Tom Thumb news, renovation has just started on the Lovers/Greenville store, a high-profile location which is extremely large but seems to have perpetually lower traffic than nearby Central Market and Kroger stores. So far, there is no indication of what decor package this store will be receiving, but all Lifestyle signage has been removed/painted over and the flooring has been stripped through most of the store (also exposing the original tile floors which were original to this store during the Randalls era, it's actually really interesting looking in person). During other conversions from Lifestyle to Colorful Lifestyle in the DFW area, the existing Lifestyle signage has been left in place and just repainted, so presumably this store will not be receiving Colorful Lifestyle. Florida decor could be a possibility, or potentially something completely different.

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