State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

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BatteryMill
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State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by BatteryMill » September 4th, 2018, 6:28 pm

One question I have had about Food Lion in the Washington D.C. suburbs, particularily their stores that used to carry the Bloom name has been their status at present. I am particularily concerned about these stores as they have had minimal updates to their stores since that era began in the mid-2000s, especially with how many changes both Food Lion and the industry have undergone since.

Bloom's decor package, which shows extensive themes of the upscale, concept-friendly direction it conveyed often readjusted to Food Lion standards and removed certain Bloom features (touchscreen kiosks, branding, etc.) is often times noticeable in any such store and happens to be quite specific to said chain with their logo being embedded throughout the store.
While it certainly showed off some wonderful aspects of the time that could be used today in a way, I feel these stores have been due for renovations. The whole interior design is not very dated in appearance, and neither is it enough to hurt the brand however does not fit these stores much anymore. With all these signs, I am not sure whether these stores will receive upgrades soon, stay the same or possibly go on the selling block. ood Lion has not had the most success in this region, (unlike certain western states) they have consistently maintained a presence here since the 1980s and still operate well-rounded stores in the present day.

However, of the suburban markets they are present in, the Washington D.C. area has received little attention to remodels and new store openings since the mid-2000s where they introduced the Bloom/Bottom Dollar format.
In comparison, the Richmond and Norfolk markets are bringing in major remodel sprees as of late; the latter even has managed to take in several stores from SuperValu's Farm Fresh. Likewise in the Carolinas, where Food Lion has had a longtime presence, some concepts have been conducted recently and new acquisitions continue.

Some basic information: In 2012, with the collapse of Bloom, Food Lion closed multiple stores belonging to the aforementioned brand in suburban areas; while in 2016 many exurban Food Lions near Giant-MD/Martins stores were sold to the likes of Weis and Shop 'n Save as Ahold and Delhaize underwent their merger. Food Lions/Giants the inner NoVA counties (Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William) as well as some in the inner Maryland suburbs were spared from any divestitures, however some of the two retailers have continued operating in a similar vicinity of each other as other Food Lion stores that were sold off.

I could assume the divested Food Lion stores were chosen in a "domino effect" as one store would be close to an Ahold supermarket and all others within the town would be sold as a result. As for the remaining stores, either I could assume luckily never made it within the divestiture zone, are presently pending action or even might be more profitable to FL.

These stores can still be beneficial to their areas and as an asset of Ahold Delhaize which in turn could warrant remodels. I would not see much of a point in FL continuing to operate here if updates are not planned to their store base. Hopefully some news does come in to these stores so that they can continue to serve their locales.
If you have been around D.C. area Food Lions, what do you see in these stores and when could changes happen? Answers would be appreciated.
Last edited by BatteryMill on October 8th, 2018, 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

Knight
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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by Knight » September 10th, 2018, 10:47 am

Food Lion has no future in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. If it focused on improving existing stores and opening new stores, improving necessities of food and pharmacy, competing with lower prices, it could be in a better position. If Ahold Delhaize USA has to close stores, expect to see Food Lion stores close first.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by BatteryMill » September 10th, 2018, 4:27 pm

Knight wrote:
September 10th, 2018, 10:47 am
Food Lion has no future in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. If it focused on improving existing stores and opening new stores, improving necessities of food and pharmacy, competing with lower prices, it could be in a better position. If Ahold Delhaize USA has to close stores, expect to see Food Lion stores close first.
Hopefully you're not including Richmond and Norfolk, as well as other rural markets in the mix - the former cities have recently undertaken vast remodeling sprees, while the small towns will likely continue to have their Food Lion stores for a while. :lol:

On my account, I could agree to that in the terms they have planned nothing for their stores that have not closed or were divested among any new store options, however like I've said Food Lion leaving the region entirely is still uncertain though probable by means. I assume they want to maintain balance between Giant-MD with both brands readily present in the area and still being very individual. For one Ahold and Delhaize brands, as of 2018 have very little in common across the two conglomerates who merged to comprise the brand we have today.

An article (https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/ ... 5e00af7d64) I found in The Washington Post explains much about Food Lion's presence in the Washington D.C. area and the strategies they used to initially gain market share. Despite being published before many changes came to the area grocery sector, even pre-Bloom/Bottom Dollar, this article details Food Lion's approaches to low cost, seeing as how the stores are their own counter to the D.C. area competition, save for the new low-cost grocers in Aldi and Lidl.
One takeaway from the article is the advantage have in areas like these is opening stores in newly-developed suburbs faster: they were the first modern grocer when they arrived in 2000. The same thing can also be said about some additional stores within the area as they expanded - though now that no major exurban developments are underway and Harris Teeter has emerged as a favorite in growing counties, Food Lion has likely detracted themselves from such growth.

That being said, perhaps these locations have the possibility of being remodeled soon enough, a good move on Ahold Delhaize's part to maintain these stores the way they are intended.
On the route of Ahold Delhaize chipping away their remaining area locations, who will they sell to and when will they most likely do such? Some of those scattered Food Lion stores are still useful to their customer base even when they have failed in neighboring locales. I for one couldn't imagine Food Lion completely disappearing from the D.C./Baltimore areas without any attention to those stores or a good way out.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by Knight » September 10th, 2018, 8:13 pm

I am including Virginia with reason. Food Lion claims it has improved a quantity of stores to be "easy, fresh, and affordable." If it is serious by having the necessities of food and pharmacy in most stores, having fresh foods and quality produces in stock and readily available, lowering prices to be competitive and make sales, and improving service, then it is with the program. If it has done minimal improvements to be far from "easy, fresh, and affordable," then it has another failed investment that occurs every five years.

Food Lion lost perspective after Ralph Ketner retired.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by storewanderer » September 10th, 2018, 8:20 pm

Knight wrote:
September 10th, 2018, 8:13 pm
I am including Virginia with reason. Food Lion claims it has improved a quantity of stores to be "easy, fresh, and affordable." If it is serious by having the necessities of food and pharmacy in most stores, having fresh foods and quality produces in stock and readily available, lowering prices to be competitive and make sales, and improving service, then it is with the program. If it has done minimal improvements to be far from "easy, fresh, and affordable," then it has another failed investment that occurs every five years.

Food Lion lost perspective after Ralph Ketner retired.
I think Food Lion is easy. There are so few customers that it is very easy to park your car close to the door. Once inside, the store is fairly small and you do not have to worry much about a crowd so it is easy to move through the store freely. I also think Food Lion is fresh. They put so few fresh items out on their displays that even having so few customers, the items are mysteriously fresh. I guess when you only put out six apples or peaches at a time and so few are buying, it is easy to keep it fresh. I could debate affordability but I certainly think Food Lion has a lower pricing structure than, say, Safeway. Definitely not lower than Wal Mart.

I am surprised Food Lion survives anywhere.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by Knight » September 10th, 2018, 8:27 pm

Food Lion could be easy to get in because it has lost customers to competitors, and easy to find reasons not to return.

I do not know how rotten can be considered fresh.

Food Lion's pricing structure is higher than Publix and Harris Teeter in North Carolina.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by storewanderer » September 11th, 2018, 8:29 pm

Despite its reputation, I have not seen rotten fresh product in any Food Lions I have visited. I have seen very, very lightly stocked meat and produce departments. I have seen closed/non operating service delis (probably due to lack of volume). I've seen bakeries with so little product out that you could fit all they had in a hand basket... but somehow, no rotten product.

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