The present and future of Randalls

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architect
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Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by architect » November 2nd, 2017, 6:40 pm

pseudo3d wrote:
November 1st, 2017, 7:35 pm
By the way, the Randalls in Katy that closed will be the home of an Asian market by years-end. Wonder if this was one of those "transitionary demographics" areas that the company is still afraid to tackle again.
From what I can tell, this location was the only Katy Randalls which had competition immediately adjacent (a large HEB is located at the same intersection). The other two stores are the sole traditional grocers in their respective neighborhoods. In addition, that stretch of Mason Road seems to be filling with East Asian and Indian supermarkets, likely indicating demographic change as you said. In recent years, the Houston area has had a huge influex of well-skilled Asian professionals flocking to the area to work in the tech side of the oil and gas industry. Albertsons has generally struggled with nontypical suburban demographics, except in markets such as NorCal, SoCal and DC where overall demographic trends allow them to stock a more diverse product mix across the market as a whole.

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Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by architect » June 7th, 2018, 7:27 pm

The Houston Chronicle's Looped In podcast just put out an episode reporting on the recent Randalls closures:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/busine ... 965788.php

Overall, there is not a ton discussed which we do not already know, but it is interesting to hear about how Safeway/Albertsons have effectively run the chain into the ground over the last 15 years or so right as HEB was upgrading their Pantry store base, Kroger was building Signature and then Marketplace stores, and Walmart made a heavy push with Supercenters. It was truly a perfect storm. Also, there is some discussion of El Rancho Supermercado and the increasingly important role which the Hispanic market will play in Houston. Speaking of, the hosts also generally agreed that Kroger is stuck in a bit of limbo in determining how to best target the Hispanic market, while also being stuck with large Marketplace stores which could become an increasing liability due to their heavy staffing and overall cost to run with GM merchandise that often does not move well.

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Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by rwsandiego » June 7th, 2018, 9:11 pm

I know the court of public opinion says Safeway ran Randalls/Tom Thumb into the ground. Based on my experience with Dominick's I believe it. But the question on my mind is why Randalls sold out in the first place. Dominick's was sold by Yucaipa, who acquired it from the DiMatteo family after Mr. DiMatteo passed away. The kids were not interested in owning a grocery chain. What was the deal w/Randalls?

PS: IMO, Dominick's meat and produce as well as customer service improved under Safeway. Not that this was a difficult task. Dominick's meat, fish, and produce were terrible and it seemed like every three months or so a Dominick's was being shut down by the health department after failing an inspection or the department receiving a customer complaint. This dated back to when Mr DiMatteo owned the place. I stopped buying meat and fish there because I always had to return something for being spoiled and was lectured one time by a manager for returning so much fish. I took the package back and contacted the Chicago Health Department. Fish department was shut down the next day.

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Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by pseudo3d » June 8th, 2018, 6:23 am

architect wrote:
June 7th, 2018, 7:27 pm
The Houston Chronicle's Looped In podcast just put out an episode reporting on the recent Randalls closures:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/busine ... 965788.php

Overall, there is not a ton discussed which we do not already know, but it is interesting to hear about how Safeway/Albertsons have effectively run the chain into the ground over the last 15 years or so right as HEB was upgrading their Pantry store base, Kroger was building Signature and then Marketplace stores, and Walmart made a heavy push with Supercenters. It was truly a perfect storm. Also, there is some discussion of El Rancho Supermercado and the increasingly important role which the Hispanic market will play in Houston. Speaking of, the hosts also generally agreed that Kroger is stuck in a bit of limbo in determining how to best target the Hispanic market, while also being stuck with large Marketplace stores which could become an increasing liability due to their heavy staffing and overall cost to run with GM merchandise that often does not move well.
Kroger, traditionally, has been the best at sticking it out in areas where other grocers pulled out or wouldn't consider (their Greenhouse location in the Eastwood area, for instance) but in the last 10 years or so, that's been changing as they have closed a number of the smaller stores. Their experimental "Spanish" Kroger Gulfton store was a failure (not sure why, maybe shoplifting, maybe not), but they haven't tried anything as of late.

It's been a while since I visited a Marketplace store, but I suspect part of the problem is not promoting the GM very well or presenting the store as a viable alternative to Walmart/Target.
rwsandiego wrote:
June 7th, 2018, 9:11 pm
The kids were not interested in owning a grocery chain. What was the deal w/Randalls?
Overexpansion, they bought Cullum Cos. in Dallas and Austin, which was larger in terms of store count but also had a store format that was substantially different than Randalls' (Tom Thumb's stores were much smaller on average than Randalls, which was pushing 70k-80k square feet in the early 1990s), and was heavily leveraged with debt. This in turn led to selling out a portion of the chain to KKR and slowed store growth to a crawl when its competitors were heating up.

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Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by klkla » June 8th, 2018, 4:47 pm

rwsandiego wrote:
June 7th, 2018, 9:11 pm
But the question on my mind is why Randalls sold out in the first place. Dominick's was sold by Yucaipa, who acquired it from the DiMatteo family after Mr. DiMatteo passed away. The kids were not interested in owning a grocery chain. What was the deal w/Randalls?
Randall's didn't integrate Tom Thumb very well at the beginning and then over spent remodeling and building new stores. The return on investment was not sufficient so they decided to sell to a company with deeper pockets.

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Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by rwsandiego » June 8th, 2018, 6:20 pm

Thank you @klkla and @pseudo for the details on Randalls reasoning behind the sellout to Safeway. Sounds like Safeway might have done further damage to damaged goods.

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Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by architect » August 25th, 2018, 8:27 pm

Significant news on the Randalls front: Albertsons seems to be on a remodeling spree in Texas right now. The Randalls at 4800 W. Bellfort in Houston is currently being refreshed with Colorful Lifestyle (converting from Lifestyle 1.0). In addition, at least two Austin-area Randalls stores are currently being remodeled with Colorful Lifestyle decor (Cedar Park and Westlake) with more presumably on the way. Cedar Park is receiving the Colorful Lifestyle varient seen in DFW where the existing Lifestyle elements are simply repainted, while Westlake is being converted from Lifestyle 1.0 and the decor is being replaced completely. If there were any plans to suspend Randalls' operations, those seem to be questionable for now. I am curious if the Houston renovation is being spurred on by HEB's announced plans for a new Meyerland store, or if this was already in the works. Randalls' other recent Houston-area renovations have all been a massive game of cat and mouse with adjacent HEB store replacements.

Side note, DFW is also getting quite a bit of attention. The Lovers/Greenville Tom Thumb renovation into Florida decor is almost complete, and now the staging area behind the store is being used as a hub for renovating other stores nearby (so far, the Snyder Plaza Tom Thumb has received Colorful Lifestyle, and there currently appears to be new equipment/shelving being stored for another area store too). Small trailers are being used to transport items from this staging area to the stores in question (within a couple of miles). I will monitor other stores in the area for potential renovation activity.

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Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by pseudo3d » August 25th, 2018, 9:40 pm

I went to the Randalls in Bellaire after visiting the H-E-B there. It was definitely easier to get in and out of, and the Color Lifestyle remodel got rid of the seating area, where homeless people often congregated. Also, it looked like the former Randalls gas station at Barker Cypress and 290 became an Exxon gas station with Timewise (same convenience store building).

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Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by architect » September 10th, 2018, 6:32 pm

Add two more Austin-area Randalls to the Colorful Lifestyle list: both the Round Rock and Brodie Lane (South Austin) stores are receiving remodels. If this pace continues, Randalls' Austin-area presence will be halfway decent over the next year or so, with almost half of area stores either being new construction or remodeled. It will be interesting to see if Albertsons invests in the former Safeway/Appletree locations or if they decide to hold off in hope of rebuilding/relocating to a larger property. The only factor working in their favor is the fact that many of HEB's stores in central Austin are also somewhat smaller-skewing and aged.

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Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by architect » September 11th, 2018, 7:48 pm

Speaking of the Westlake Randalls, the store apparently celebrated their grand opening last week. I will definitely stop by next time I'm in the area.

https://www.statesman.com/news/local/ra ... bObD2ZVaI/

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