Publix entering Louisville, KY in 2023

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Bagels
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Re: Publix entering Louisville, KY in 2023

Post by Bagels »

retailfanmitchell019 wrote: September 11th, 2021, 7:37 pm I would no way consider Walmart a "middle market grocer". With dirty stores, poor service and quality, not to mention the elimination of service deli and bakery in most stores, Walmart is truly a low-end grocer, a step above Grocery Outlet, but below WinCo and Food 4 Less.

Here's how I define grocery stores by class:
Low end: Walmart, Grocery Outlet, Save-A-Lot, Smart & Final, Food 4 Less, WinCo
Lower-middle end: Aldi, Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's, Food Lion, Amazon Fresh, Shoprite, Meijer
True middle end: Most Kroger banners, Winn-Dixie, Stater Bros, Target, Trader Joe's, most Ahold banners
Upper-middle end: Publix, Wegmans, HEB, Hy-Vee, most Albertsons banners, Sprouts, QFC, Mariano's, Harris Teeter
High end: Gelson's, Lunds/Byerlys, Whole Foods, Pavilions, Bristol Farms
Walmart is definitely a middle market grocer; it carries largely the same product assortment as Kroger, Publix, etc. Most SuperCenters carry organic and natural goods throughout the store, trendy products (plant-based, select international goods, etc.) and premium goods (everything from pricy bottles of refrigerated salad dressings to grass fed beef). Even without the service deli, bakery & meat counters, most stores carry a similar product assortment as Kroger, Publix, etc. -- everything from a variety of cheeses, trendy deli items (cauliflower dips, etc.), prepared meals, etc. All of these items are omitted from low end grocers. Yes, many Walmarts (but certainly not all) offer a less-than-stellar shopping experience, but that doesn't make them less of a middle market grocery.

True full-service, low-end grocers are largely independent and generally found in low income areas. Most offer a better shopping experience than Walmart, but you'll find a limited selection of perishables -- often low-quality, but at bargain prices -- and lots of off-brands.
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Re: Publix entering Louisville, KY in 2023

Post by storewanderer »

Bagels wrote: September 11th, 2021, 3:37 pm

Publix, Kroger, Meijer and even Walmart are middle market grocers, largely competing for the same consumers. There's a reason why, for over 15 years, Publix's ads have frequently compared some aspects of their operation to Walmart. Many middle market consumers will split their purchases between Walmart and Publix, but those who shop more high-end stores like Whole Foods, purchase most all their groceries from there (but may stop at their nearest neighborhood grocery store midweek for convenience).

Publix, Kroger and Meijer have similar product assortments, and purchase the same produce and meat/seafood lots. Publix's deli and bakery has long been its signature and certainly edges Kroger and Meijer. and Meijer has the largest produce selection of any large traditional grocer in the country, but the rest of their offerings are similar. Publix differentiates itself through the in-store experience, but the trade off is that its prices are higher. Yes, some Kroger stores have difficulty with execution, but that's another topic :). I will add that it appears Smith's (at least in LV-area) has vastly improved the quality of their bakery selection, many stores that have been renovated feature a service bakery case. Almost on par with Publix...

I understand what you are saying about Publix having the same general products as Kroger and Wal Mart... but they have positioned themselves as better. Those lots of produce, for example, a big key to how the produce program in the store ends up going is in-store execution and handling of the produce. Chains that have strict standards and tight quality control and are able to execute those programs well can take that mass market marginal produce and push out a quality product to the customer. Chains that have on paper a bunch of programs and policies but then the store level doesn't bother to follow it, or the distribution center doesn't follow it, end up taking that mass market marginal produce and pushing out trash to the customer.

Based on the reputation Publix has, it is a chain that many customers believe has strict standards, tight quality control, and strong execution in the store level. I have never really been wowed by Publix. The first time I went into one it wasn't even close to what I was expecting based on the things I had heard about the chain from people. Yes they do a good job... above average job... but to me there are quite a few other chains I like better. To that point, I've never seen a dirty Publix. I've never waited in a long line in a Publix. I've never received outright rude service in a Publix (good amounts of indifference though in FL especially around Miami and Jacksonville).

Customer perception in, say, Atlanta, is that Publix offers a superior quality product and superior shopping experience to that of the typical Kroger or Wal Mart Supercenter. I still think they are solidly positioned among their very loyal customer base as an upper middle market grocer.
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Re: Publix entering Louisville, KY in 2023

Post by veteran+ »

Thank you for differentiating Publix of most of Florida from Publix in areas outside of Florida.

For the most part Publix outside of Florida holds truer to the operational values of what they promulgate.

Most high income areas in Florida enjoy the high standards of a Publix store.

I still think their perishable and fresh products (bakery included) miss the mark in most of Florida.

And the service attitude in lower income areas of Florida is just poor!
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Re: Publix entering Louisville, KY in 2023

Post by mbz321 »

retailfanmitchell019 wrote: September 11th, 2021, 7:37 pm
Lower-middle end: Aldi, Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's, Food Lion, Amazon Fresh, Shoprite, Meijer[
I definitely have to disagree with you here. Not looking at (the lack thereof) fancy decor' and such., Costco targets a much higher end market. I've been told the average Costco shopper earns $100k a year+. Wagu beef and other more upscale meat options vs. an average supermarket, fancy varieties of apples and other produce items, prepared foods, etc. BJ's and Sam's carry more of what I would consider 'junk food', but they are still more middle end than lower.

Have you been in in Amazon Fresh? They are going for a more upper-middle demo for sure. Their first store in PA opened last month and I've been in there a few times and have been very unimpressed. It just feels more like a 'Whole Foods Lite'. Prices are average at best while many things are priced higher than Wegmans or Giant.

Upper-middle end: Publix, Wegmans, HEB, Hy-Vee, most Albertsons banners, Sprouts, QFC, Mariano's, Harris Teeter

Most Albertsons banners from my experiences are pretty much middle-market. Some stores feel a bit more upscale, but its really the same average groceries that are sold everywhere else. I live in 'Acme' banner territory and their pricing is absolutely atrocious on pretty much everything, and the majority of their stores aren't even that particularly nice. They don't even come anywhere close to 'Wegmans' level when it comes to quality (and Wegmans is significantly less expensive).

[/quote]
Last edited by mbz321 on September 14th, 2021, 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Publix entering Louisville, KY in 2023

Post by Bagels »

storewanderer wrote: September 11th, 2021, 11:54 pm I understand what you are saying about Publix having the same general products as Kroger and Wal Mart... but they have positioned themselves as better. Those lots of produce, for example, a big key to how the produce program in the store ends up going is in-store execution and handling of the produce. Chains that have strict standards and tight quality control and are able to execute those programs well can take that mass market marginal produce and push out a quality product to the customer. Chains that have on paper a bunch of programs and policies but then the store level doesn't bother to follow it, or the distribution center doesn't follow it, end up taking that mass market marginal produce and pushing out trash to the customer.

Based on the reputation Publix has, it is a chain that many customers believe has strict standards, tight quality control, and strong execution in the store level. I have never really been wowed by Publix. The first time I went into one it wasn't even close to what I was expecting based on the things I had heard about the chain from people. Yes they do a good job... above average job... but to me there are quite a few other chains I like better. To that point, I've never seen a dirty Publix. I've never waited in a long line in a Publix. I've never received outright rude service in a Publix (good amounts of indifference though in FL especially around Miami and Jacksonville).

Customer perception in, say, Atlanta, is that Publix offers a superior quality product and superior shopping experience to that of the typical Kroger or Wal Mart Supercenter. I still think they are solidly positioned among their very loyal customer base as an upper middle market grocer.
I don't disagree with you, but at the end of the day, Publix is a middle market grocer and will compete for the same consumers as Kroger, Meijer and Walmart. (As I mentioned earlier, this is true even in Florida, where for 15+ years they've regularly compared themselves to Walmart in their flyers.) Publix does not carry the largely "premium" product assortment that Whole Foods does, or the gourmet items that Gelson's does. It does not purchase the best produce lots that Bristol Farms does, nor does it invest in the labor to keep produce at its best (e.g. appropriately storing it in the back, and placing small batches out on the sales floor).

What Publix does offer, as you described, is a premium shopping experience. No other chain in the country is as good at presentation, or regularly renovating/replacing stores. But ultimately there's a cost to this; the SN, for example, asserted that Publix would fail in a market like Texas, that was largely price-driven.

But you're right: poor execution and poor management can kill even the best business plans, which all of us have seen at some point. One thing that works in Publix's favor in Louisville, is that all of their stores will be new build. But Louisville is one of the slowest growing metro areas in the country, and if Publix is successful, it's going to lead to store closures by Kroger and/or Meijer.
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Re: Publix entering Louisville, KY in 2023

Post by storewanderer »

Bagels wrote: September 12th, 2021, 6:38 pm
I don't disagree with you, but at the end of the day, Publix is a middle market grocer and will compete for the same consumers as Kroger, Meijer and Walmart. (As I mentioned earlier, this is true even in Florida, where for 15+ years they've regularly compared themselves to Walmart in their flyers.) Publix does not carry the largely "premium" product assortment that Whole Foods does, or the gourmet items that Gelson's does. It does not purchase the best produce lots that Bristol Farms does, nor does it invest in the labor to keep produce at its best (e.g. appropriately storing it in the back, and placing small batches out on the sales floor).

What Publix does offer, as you described, is a premium shopping experience. No other chain in the country is as good at presentation, or regularly renovating/replacing stores. But ultimately there's a cost to this; the SN, for example, asserted that Publix would fail in a market like Texas, that was largely price-driven.

But you're right: poor execution and poor management can kill even the best business plans, which all of us have seen at some point. One thing that works in Publix's favor in Louisville, is that all of their stores will be new build. But Louisville is one of the slowest growing metro areas in the country, and if Publix is successful, it's going to lead to store closures by Kroger and/or Meijer.
My observation is Publix puts out very small amounts of produce, bakery, and deli in an effort to promote freshness and reduce shrink. They don't pile anything high (maybe a busy store will pile fried chicken high and some stores may put out a large table of bananas but that is about it). Also from what I have seen, Publix does carry a more premium/gourmet product assortment than you see at typical middle market grocers, but that does vary by store location.

I think Publix knows they fit in a market that does not have much more than Kroger and Wal Mart. It is not hard to look upscale next to Kroger (in its current form) and Wal Mart. They have been successful in that type of scenario and will be successful again in Louisville. 6 Meijer Stores aren't going to be something they feel much unless they open across the street from all 6, which they won't, because those 6 Meijers aren't really located in the types of neighborhoods I'd expect Publix to go after.

If this had been 8 years ago when Kroger was making a lot of improvements to its stores and offerings I'd have a different opinion but based on where we are at today I think this will be a good move for Publix and they will be successful.
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Re: Publix entering Louisville, KY in 2023

Post by Knight »

Bagels wrote: September 12th, 2021, 6:38 pmBut ultimately there's a cost to this; the SN, for example, asserted that Publix would fail in a market like Texas, that was largely price-driven.
Publix could succeed in Texas being price competitive.
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Re: Publix entering Louisville, KY in 2023

Post by Knight »

storewanderer wrote: September 12th, 2021, 11:02 pm I think Publix knows they fit in a market that does not have much more than Kroger and Wal Mart. It is not hard to look upscale next to Kroger (in its current form) and Wal Mart. They have been successful in that type of scenario and will be successful again in Louisville. 6 Meijer Stores aren't going to be something they feel much unless they open across the street from all 6, which they won't, because those 6 Meijers aren't really located in the types of neighborhoods I'd expect Publix to go after.
Publix has competed with supermarkets Kroger and Walmart Neighborhood Market and hypermarkets Kroger Marketplace and Walmart Supercenter in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. It will continue to live the best and successful practices against familiar and new competitors in Kentucky and some day in fringe states it could enter.
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Re: Publix entering Louisville, KY in 2023

Post by DFWRetaileWatcher »

Knight wrote: September 14th, 2021, 10:11 am
Bagels wrote: September 12th, 2021, 6:38 pmBut ultimately there's a cost to this; the SN, for example, asserted that Publix would fail in a market like Texas, that was largely price-driven.
Publix could succeed in Texas being price competitive.
Texas (especially the Dallas and Houston markets) is way too competitive for Publix.

Plus, I'm pretty sure it's too far removed from its distribution network.
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Re: Publix entering Louisville, KY in 2023

Post by DFWRetaileWatcher »

Bagels wrote: September 12th, 2021, 6:38 pm
storewanderer wrote: September 11th, 2021, 11:54 pm I understand what you are saying about Publix having the same general products as Kroger and Wal Mart... but they have positioned themselves as better. Those lots of produce, for example, a big key to how the produce program in the store ends up going is in-store execution and handling of the produce. Chains that have strict standards and tight quality control and are able to execute those programs well can take that mass market marginal produce and push out a quality product to the customer. Chains that have on paper a bunch of programs and policies but then the store level doesn't bother to follow it, or the distribution center doesn't follow it, end up taking that mass market marginal produce and pushing out trash to the customer.

Based on the reputation Publix has, it is a chain that many customers believe has strict standards, tight quality control, and strong execution in the store level. I have never really been wowed by Publix. The first time I went into one it wasn't even close to what I was expecting based on the things I had heard about the chain from people. Yes they do a good job... above average job... but to me there are quite a few other chains I like better. To that point, I've never seen a dirty Publix. I've never waited in a long line in a Publix. I've never received outright rude service in a Publix (good amounts of indifference though in FL especially around Miami and Jacksonville).

Customer perception in, say, Atlanta, is that Publix offers a superior quality product and superior shopping experience to that of the typical Kroger or Wal Mart Supercenter. I still think they are solidly positioned among their very loyal customer base as an upper middle market grocer.
I don't disagree with you, but at the end of the day, Publix is a middle market grocer and will compete for the same consumers as Kroger, Meijer and Walmart. (As I mentioned earlier, this is true even in Florida, where for 15+ years they've regularly compared themselves to Walmart in their flyers.) Publix does not carry the largely "premium" product assortment that Whole Foods does, or the gourmet items that Gelson's does. It does not purchase the best produce lots that Bristol Farms does, nor does it invest in the labor to keep produce at its best (e.g. appropriately storing it in the back, and placing small batches out on the sales floor).

What Publix does offer, as you described, is a premium shopping experience. No other chain in the country is as good at presentation, or regularly renovating/replacing stores. But ultimately there's a cost to this; the SN, for example, asserted that Publix would fail in a market like Texas, that was largely price-driven.

But you're right: poor execution and poor management can kill even the best business plans, which all of us have seen at some point. One thing that works in Publix's favor in Louisville, is that all of their stores will be new build. But Louisville is one of the slowest growing metro areas in the country, and if Publix is successful, it's going to lead to store closures by Kroger and/or Meijer.
Wegman's? H-E-B?
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