Crucial times for Shoppers

Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. No non-grocery posts.
BatteryMill
Bronze Member
Bronze Member
Posts: 58
Joined: May 1st, 2016, 12:25 pm
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by BatteryMill » June 4th, 2017, 3:32 pm

Well, it's been some time since my last post in the thread, which has surprisingly lasted a year with six pages accumulated! Useless statistics aside, I would like to comment on how Shoppers had always been thought of being sold off and replaced by other retailers such as its' D.C. cohorts or expanding retailers such as Publix and whatnot.

On this issue, would there be any interest for someone in charge, or an investor with a good opportunity at Shoppers to take command, bring it to a better state (such as its' classic formula) and become a major force in the market again? It seems as if the chain is somewhat treated as a dummy-like brand which is only to be passed around the rest of them. Sure, they may have lost identity and a unique appeal under SuperValu, but if there were to be a prominent spin-off or acquisition (not to a nearby chain/juggernaut), would the longtime chain taking on the big ones as a low-price grocer be logical? I'd have to wonder on this.

The Farm Fresh/Shoppers operations merger, while not showing an effect beside the management, is questionable on what would happen to either one or both. I hope this at least boosts both for now and at best.

buckguy
Silver Member
Silver Member
Posts: 101
Joined: January 31st, 2017, 10:54 am
Status: Offline

Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by buckguy » June 8th, 2017, 7:22 am

Shoppers doesn't have a lot of first rate locations and it seems likely that Lidl and the continuing expansion of Aldi undercuts re-entry into their original niche. The price leader chains are squeezed everywhere by the limited assortment chains and the stores like Walmart and Costco (the latter probably being a bigger factor in DC than Walmart)--their original niche makes no sense and they seem clueless in terms of being able to compete even with the dgraded states of Giant and Safeway. The best case scenario for them would be ShopRite taking over the better locations, but they would need to have operators willing to make a big investment in the DC area, which is a different proposition from Baltimore where they have been slowly expanding, and corporate would have to be willing to buy stores upfront from Super Valu.

pseudo3d
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Posts: 2452
Joined: November 12th, 2015, 7:01 pm
Status: Offline

Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by pseudo3d » June 8th, 2017, 12:12 pm

buckguy wrote:Shoppers doesn't have a lot of first rate locations and it seems likely that Lidl and the continuing expansion of Aldi undercuts re-entry into their original niche. The price leader chains are squeezed everywhere by the limited assortment chains and the stores like Walmart and Costco (the latter probably being a bigger factor in DC than Walmart)--their original niche makes no sense and they seem clueless in terms of being able to compete even with the dgraded states of Giant and Safeway. The best case scenario for them would be ShopRite taking over the better locations, but they would need to have operators willing to make a big investment in the DC area, which is a different proposition from Baltimore where they have been slowly expanding, and corporate would have to be willing to buy stores upfront from Super Valu.

True warehouse stores like Shoppers was haven't done well for decades, and the chains that did were either re-absorbed into their parent companies, outright closed, or hardly distinguishable from "real" chains. SuperValu cannot undercut their competitors without destroying profitability, as traditional warehouse stores also require high volume to make them work. The only way that they can really make things work is by competing at a level with Giant and Safeway but being a better grocery store than them and fixing the shortcomings that those chains have. But this is also complicated by the fact that they don't have the locations like Safeway and Giant do.

mjhale
Bronze Member
Bronze Member
Posts: 48
Joined: October 2nd, 2016, 4:02 pm
Status: Offline

Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by mjhale » June 8th, 2017, 3:38 pm

I have long wished that ShopRite would enter the DC market with actual ShopRite stores as opposed to PriceRite stores which are already open in a few areas around DC. What I have to wonder is how well ShopRite would do in the DC area. Washingtonians are used to large chain grocery stores that have similar operations between all of the locations. Perhaps a single operator with a single style would do well because people would know what to expect.

In terms of competitiveness, I have always perceived ShopRite as a mid-line, high volume grocer. Someone correct me if this isn't the case. In my view, the best contemporary I could find to ShopRite would be Giant-MD when they were still locally owned. Given the competitors in the DC area, Aldi and Wal-Mart have the low-end, price conscious folks and Wegmans, Whole Foods and to some extent Harris Teeter have the high end customers. The great middle is where I see ShopRite settling in. Giant is nothing like it used to be and Safeway has kind of been lingering along for a long time. ShopRite could clean up the middle ground if they could get good locations with strong operators. I fear that an operator coming down from Baltimore or further north in ShopRite's core territory would not understand the DC market and run into the same issues when Giant-MD attempted to expand into PA and NJ. No one knows what Publix wants to do in the DC area beyond the rumors that are out there. Safeway recently closed a store in the Ashburn area which would have been good for a Publix entry into the DC area. Instead the Safeway is being subdivided into and Aldi and other small shops.

Bringing this back to Shoppers, they are completely and totally left out in any scenario I can see. As others have said, they have marginal locations or locations that are not conducive to another grocer who might be looking to get into the DC area. Also they lost their price competitiveness long ago and now are know as a marginal grocer. Even the donuts don't bring in people like they used to. The interesting thing is that as I think about the Shoppers stores near me in Northern Virginia they actually might be good fits for ShopRite. Plus ShopRite has union locations so it wouldn't be a big problem to change ownership as Shoppers is a union shop.

BatteryMill
Bronze Member
Bronze Member
Posts: 58
Joined: May 1st, 2016, 12:25 pm
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by BatteryMill » May 30th, 2018, 5:12 pm

The downhill slope at Shoppers just seems to be getting steeper this year, especially with Farm Fresh's woes and pressures mounting within the market. In particular for the chain, three stores are on the chopping block within the next few months.

Following the shuttering of the Centreville, VA store a month ago, a venerable store in Herndon, VA will be closing on June 11, 2018. A long-running store in Alexandria (Little River Turnpike near I-395) will also close soon. Additionally, a tweet by Shoppers also mentions another store in Sterling, VA is scheduled to shutter later this summer. While the former was understandable for being a rather dingy location, the latter two came to me as a surprise for respectively being located in a busy area and the other being a rather large store.

With all that's going on, I hope there can be an independent push to rescue this chain by any means possible and scale the operation if there would not be divestitures.
At least SuperValu has their recently remodeled locations to thank, including the new Shoppers Market concept stores that they have performed remodels on. They are decent, however happen to be bland interpretations of recent grocery stores and once again shift away from Shoppers' low price stigma.

mjhale
Bronze Member
Bronze Member
Posts: 48
Joined: October 2nd, 2016, 4:02 pm
Status: Offline

Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by mjhale » May 31st, 2018, 6:34 pm

Either Shoppers is getting out of the Virginia suburbs because they are highly competitive markets or this is the slow bleeding out of Shoppers until it fully closes in the DC area. Shoppers has no identity and the donuts are no longer enough to get people into the store. Supervalu has too much debt and they are trying to focus on their wholesale business which means they don't have to resources or interest to do anything with their retail operations. Selling the stores would likely mean that the union contracts would stay in place which limits interest in the stores if they even were to go to another grocer. Closing the stores blank slates the spaces for whoever wants to get at them. So far the stores that have closed don't have the demographics for Publix who has long been rumored to be looking for store locations in Northern Virginia. And in the competitive Northern Virginia grocery market I don't see the stores that Shoppers is closing going to traditional grocers if they stay as groceries at all.

By the way, do you have any interior photos of the Landmark Plaza store in Alexandria? Someone commented on the Flickr image of the exterior of the store that interior is a fairly rare design from the mid 2000s. I thought that Landmark Plaza had the same interior as the Herndon store but I could be wrong.

User avatar
rwsandiego
Diamond Member
Diamond Member
Posts: 471
Joined: April 3rd, 2016, 10:57 pm
Status: Offline

Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by rwsandiego » May 31st, 2018, 10:56 pm

mjhale wrote:
May 31st, 2018, 6:34 pm
Either Shoppers is getting out of the Virginia suburbs because they are highly competitive markets or this is the slow bleeding out of Shoppers until it fully closes in the DC area. Shoppers has no identity and the donuts are no longer enough to get people into the store. Supervalu has too much debt and they are trying to focus on their wholesale business which means they don't have to resources or interest to do anything with their retail operations. Selling the stores would likely mean that the union contracts would stay in place which limits interest in the stores if they even were to go to another grocer. Closing the stores blank slates the spaces for whoever wants to get at them. So far the stores that have closed don't have the demographics for Publix who has long been rumored to be looking for store locations in Northern Virginia. And in the competitive Northern Virginia grocery market I don't see the stores that Shoppers is closing going to traditional grocers if they stay as groceries at all.

By the way, do you have any interior photos of the Landmark Plaza store in Alexandria? Someone commented on the Flickr image of the exterior of the store that interior is a fairly rare design from the mid 2000s. I thought that Landmark Plaza had the same interior as the Herndon store but I could be wrong.
Here's a link to the Landmark store's photos on Google maps.

and to the Herndon store's pictures.

Look the same to me.

Oh, and the 1980's called and want their store back.

SamSpade
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Posts: 511
Joined: September 13th, 2015, 4:39 pm
Status: Offline

Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by SamSpade » June 1st, 2018, 7:11 am

rwsandiego wrote:
May 31st, 2018, 10:56 pm
Oh, and the 1980's called and want their store back.
That was my thought too. :lol: SuperValu must have really provided a lot to WinCo back in the Cub Foods licensing arrangement time - that same white tile with orange strips was in several WinCo stores here although I think all have been remodeled to painted white concrete now.

buckguy
Silver Member
Silver Member
Posts: 101
Joined: January 31st, 2017, 10:54 am
Status: Offline

Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by buckguy » June 1st, 2018, 10:58 am

I can't imagine Publix buying Shoppers' locations. I'm a bit surpised Shoppers weren't part of SVU's divesture of its other mid-Atlantic operations.

As for the donuts--they have no flavor--all yeast rise and no taste.

I see Price-Rite's entry into to DC as a positive and possibly a sign that Shop-Rite could be close behind. Shop-Rite recently re-entered the Hartford market, where they once were dominant. Stores that formerly had been theirs under the Mott family ownership had become Price-Rites.

BatteryMill
Bronze Member
Bronze Member
Posts: 58
Joined: May 1st, 2016, 12:25 pm
Contact:
Status: Offline

Shoppers Shedding Stores

Post by BatteryMill » June 17th, 2018, 6:10 pm

mjhale wrote:
May 31st, 2018, 6:34 pm
Either Shoppers is getting out of the Virginia suburbs because they are highly competitive markets or this is the slow bleeding out of Shoppers until it fully closes in the DC area. Shoppers has no identity and the donuts are no longer enough to get people into the store. Supervalu has too much debt and they are trying to focus on their wholesale business which means they don't have to resources or interest to do anything with their retail operations. Selling the stores would likely mean that the union contracts would stay in place which limits interest in the stores if they even were to go to another grocer. Closing the stores blank slates the spaces for whoever wants to get at them. So far the stores that have closed don't have the demographics for Publix who has long been rumored to be looking for store locations in Northern Virginia. And in the competitive Northern Virginia grocery market I don't see the stores that Shoppers is closing going to traditional grocers if they stay as groceries at all.

By the way, do you have any interior photos of the Landmark Plaza store in Alexandria? Someone commented on the Flickr image of the exterior of the store that interior is a fairly rare design from the mid 2000s. I thought that Landmark Plaza had the same interior as the Herndon store but I could be wrong.
This is one situation that is rapid, yet unpredictable and intense to the Shoppers chain. The sales of other SuperValu chains over the years, as well as the changes undergone at Shoppers and the increased power of competitors all culminates to what's going on right now with this chain.

Since there are some well-performing stores that have been recently remodeled, I assume Shoppers still will be planted in the Northern Virginia/D.C. area for some time more. However with the frenzy of quiet closures going on this year, you would best have to watch out and expect any random store to close. While I certainly hope that Shoppers gets sold, knowing it could be a good exit for the chain, I expect them to work out a way they can feed in with union contracts.
For the closed stores, I have certainly seen them fill up with new tenants as of late, of many kinds. There are good chances that some will become grocers or part of the various retail uses popular today.

For the record, I unfortunately do not have any photos of the store. I believe this store has already closed for business and I am not sure what may happen next. Otherwise Google (see above), along with other store review sources have several good angles of the store inside so you can view it if you'd like. As for decor, the Landmark store is mostly like the others with the mid-2000s interior, however with a slightly rare variant that was implemented circa 2007-08. Particularily it has less of the slatted walls, and when it does they're painted black rather than the original tan color. However, it does have some remnants from the store's original opening in the early 00s such as the aisle markers and orange grid flooring.

Especially what's odd is that Jumbo originated the Shoppers namesake in the Northern Virginia area, and even had their very first store (as SFW) across the street from the Landmark location.
rwsandiego wrote:
May 31st, 2018, 10:56 pm
Look the same to me.

Oh, and the 1980's called and want their store back.
Blame it on the overall upkeep of the store and Shoppers' history. :geek:
As I've said above, Shoppers still had stores with this look through the 2000s. While remodels like these feel worn out at present, this package actually looked quite pleasant in the newbuilds they did at the time, even as Shoppers still had some energy left in them. Otherwise, what do you expect knowing the roots of the Herndon store dating back 25 years.
ImageShoppers - Dumfries, VA: Dairy Section by BatteryMill Retail, on Flickr

ImageShoppers Laurel MD by Will, on Flickr
SamSpade wrote:
June 1st, 2018, 7:11 am
SuperValu must have really provided a lot to WinCo back in the Cub Foods licensing arrangement time - that same white tile with orange strips was in several WinCo stores here although I think all have been remodeled to painted white concrete now.
I am not too sure about any connection between SuperValu and WinCo out west. The orange look was original to Shoppers a while before they went to SuperValu in 1999, so I assume it was part of some basic warehouse-style design philosophy.
buckguy wrote:
June 1st, 2018, 10:58 am
I can't imagine Publix buying Shoppers' locations. I'm a bit surpised Shoppers weren't part of SVU's divesture of its other mid-Atlantic operations.
Some in busier/upmarket areas I would assume are good for purchase, but with how fast Publix is expanding I assume other retailers and nearby grocers would be quick to buy those out. I heard Giant may be already seeking some of the recently closed Shoppers stores to relocate to.
For one Shoppers was not a part of Albertsons before and after SVU, and at the time they were at least more accustomed to Shoppers being under their wing than the latter. In recent SuperValu divestures, however I guess the other retailers have gone first on their terms.
buckguy wrote:
June 1st, 2018, 10:58 am
As for the donuts--they have no flavor--all yeast rise and no taste.
I'd have to partially disagree with you as a local who has long experienced these from Shoppers stores. They have depended from store to store, and fresh donuts can certainly have a good taste. The only time I can really tell a lack of taste is if I keep one in the refrigerator for some time. What are your thoughts on this?

Also to add, SuperValu has directed a major consolidation to the chain, eliminating the posts of 40 head staff members. Several key employees have been eliminated and SuperValu is relocating operations to those of Cub Foods and Hornbacher’s in the Midwest. I could see this as to why a closing frenzy has begun at Shoppers as of late.
https://progressivegrocer.com/shoppers- ... nding-sale

With this and all the quiet closings Shoppers’s now going through, I am surprised this is all not breaking news throughout retail and local news outlets.

Post Reply