The present and future of Randalls

Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. No non-grocery posts.
Greggo
Bronze Member
Bronze Member
Posts: 8
Joined: September 30th, 2019, 7:24 pm
Status: Offline

Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by Greggo » January 25th, 2020, 5:12 pm

Ok, here are shots of the closing Panther Creek store in The Woodlands.

You’ll notice it’s in better shape than Grogan’s Mill. Still looks kind of dated though with the original Lifestyle decor. This location has really low ceilings around the perimeter of the store, so they had to make some modifications for Lifestyle signage to work.

Because this is a busier store than Grogan’s Mill, the fresh departments were already getting barren. Most of the meat counter is covered with butcher paper, beer is spilling over into the dairy case and a produce case was empty.

The employees here were REALLY chatty and told me some interesting things. There was an insane amount of Debi Lilly vases, etc in the floral department. So much that it was spilling over into the store’s main entryway and the bakery. A worker said Albertsons had shipped in $100,000 worth of Debi Lilly items from the Dallas area. I saw tags on some of these items that had store numbers from Dallas and Watauga that backed this up. Some of these items were from as far back as 2016. Clearly this stuff doesn’t move and they shouldn’t be ordering nearly as much.

Another worker said they found out this location was closing just a few days before it would’ve marked 34 years in business. They were told the closings will allow Albertsons to invest in the remaining Houston Randalls stores. The worker told me, “That made us feel really good. Like unloved stepchildren.”
Attachments
B373EFD1-DC01-4201-99DD-D10F186008C7.jpeg
42B716BD-2D37-4BD7-BCFE-42CDA0DBB596.jpeg
F4006CC2-2A9C-4ADE-BDF8-9FFF9739B576.jpeg
922BF85F-21AF-42A3-AC21-A13BFEC858B2.jpeg
16B81E71-B93F-454A-A7F1-B2DAF9933CE1.jpeg
0C5DA327-E218-4629-A3FD-70AE1D2DF73B.jpeg
D52A27E4-74AE-4CF0-AE4B-21BB4C5B6000.jpeg
632BAB89-B91E-4932-AA56-7A66C5CB72E4.jpeg
8CE03411-7111-4E7F-A376-92D8104EF34C.jpeg
0151C821-42FE-49C4-8F2D-E36D39FEF103.jpeg
893ED640-B2FE-4F1E-A2D5-53994AA4A466.jpeg

BillyGr
Diamond Member
Diamond Member
Posts: 418
Joined: October 5th, 2010, 7:33 pm
Been thanked: 2 times
Status: Offline

Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by BillyGr » January 26th, 2020, 12:26 pm

Greggo wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 5:12 pm
Ok, here are shots of the closing Panther Creek store in The Woodlands.

The employees here were REALLY chatty and told me some interesting things. There was an insane amount of Debi Lilly vases, etc in the floral department. So much that it was spilling over into the store’s main entryway and the bakery. A worker said Albertsons had shipped in $100,000 worth of Debi Lilly items from the Dallas area. I saw tags on some of these items that had store numbers from Dallas and Watauga that backed this up. Some of these items were from as far back as 2016. Clearly this stuff doesn’t move and they shouldn’t be ordering nearly as much.
Although probably not surprising they would send an overstock like this to a closing store, since people seem to buy just about anything when there is a store closing sale no matter how good (or bad) of a deal it is.

pseudo3d
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2666
Joined: November 12th, 2015, 7:01 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 8 times
Status: Offline

Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by pseudo3d » January 26th, 2020, 5:13 pm

Greggo wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 5:12 pm
Another worker said they found out this location was closing just a few days before it would’ve marked 34 years in business. They were told the closings will allow Albertsons to invest in the remaining Houston Randalls stores. The worker told me, “That made us feel really good. Like unloved stepchildren.”
There's not much left (although I think I counted closer to 14 or 15 in remaining stores) for Albertsons to invest in, unless they were going to merge it with a bought competitor (between Kroger and H-E-B's dominance in the area and the less-than-stellar independents, it seems unlikely), or outsource distribution somehow. I still question why the northern suburb stores were closed when others (like Bellaire and Pearland) are worse stores and/or with harder competition.

Bagels
Silver Member
Silver Member
Posts: 115
Joined: August 20th, 2018, 11:54 pm
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 10 times
Status: Offline

Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by Bagels » January 30th, 2020, 2:28 pm

Right before the Holidays, an Albertsons near me in Orange County, CA received a bunch of shopping carts with "Randalls" printed on the handle bar. They appear to be new, but could've come from a closed, low-volume Randalls. (When I returned the other day, the handle bars were replaced and now saw Albertsons, but it's an orange handle bar on a solid black shopping cart... looks more like a Halloween decoration).
BillyGr wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 12:26 pm
Although probably not surprising they would send an overstock like this to a closing store, since people seem to buy just about anything when there is a store closing sale no matter how good (or bad) of a deal it is.
It's pretty common to send overstocked inventory to a closing store. People show up for and buy the bargains, so it's a good opportunity to knock off late-dated eggs, milk, meat, etc. for a few coins, that would've otherwise been donated or tossed out.

pseudo3d
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2666
Joined: November 12th, 2015, 7:01 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 8 times
Status: Offline

Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by pseudo3d » February 10th, 2020, 10:06 pm

architect wrote:
January 20th, 2020, 8:57 pm


Also, in regards to the the Austin Randalls store base, the only former Tom Thumb remaining which was originally built as such is the West Lake Hills location. All other former Tom Thumb-built locations have closed over the years. The Exposition store is a bit of an anomaly, and I am unsure of what it originally opened as. The Ben White, Mesa Drive, West 35th and Balcones stores are all former Safeway/Appletree locations (the interiors are a dead giveaway), while the remainder of the store base was built either under Randalls, Safeway or Albertsons, and is much more relevant today.

5311 Balcones was a Tom Thumb Page and previously a Rylander (which Tom Thumb purchased and rebranded). The Rylander is mentioned here but if you go to the the newspaper archives show it as being Tom Thumb Page prior to 1994. It appears Randalls may have built a minor addition to it soon after their conversion.

Part of the other problem why there aren't many Tom Thumb locations in Austin anymore is they more or less stunted their growth in Austin by selling six of their stores to Albertsons in 1989 and even had a store that was built and then never completed, only to be occupied later by H-E-B. This is why by the time Randalls rolled into town, the remaining Tom Thumb stores tended to be older and smaller (presumably the remaining stores Albertsons didn't want or couldn't take), and eventually weeded out in the subsequent years. Of course, none of those went to Randalls again, as the 2000s saw Albertsons turn around and sell them out to H-E-B, which either converted them or closed them, leaving Albertsons to re-enter Austin via Randalls, a clearly second-class operation (a similar thing to happened in Houston).

However, I do think that the reason Randalls isn't closing in Houston entirely (when they had an opportunity to, especially stores like Bellaire, Katy, and Galveston) is they have something in mind for them (acquisition or sale target), at least for now. Forget Arlan's, they seem to be a good size for Rouses...

wnetmacman
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 796
Joined: January 17th, 2010, 2:36 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 9 times
Status: Offline

Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by wnetmacman » February 10th, 2020, 11:44 pm

pseudo3d wrote:
February 10th, 2020, 10:06 pm
Forget Arlan's, they seem to be a good size for Rouses...
I would say negative on that.

Rouses typically doesn't buy failing stores outside their area. The Alabama and Mississippi stores they bought from the failing Belle Foods and Winn Dixie were among both chain's better stores. They are just barely getting to Lake Charles now, and I'm not too sure about the performance there. Additionally, they are trying to get a distribution center open near Houma that appears to be taking up a large amount of their cash flow right now.

They may be waiting on someone, but Rouses isn't it, plus they would give up a good number of good stores in Louisiana that are now hitched to the Houston Randalls division, which aren't that impressive any more. I'd put some bets on Kroger before Rouses. Rouses can't afford to take that much on right now.

pseudo3d
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2666
Joined: November 12th, 2015, 7:01 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 8 times
Status: Offline

Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by pseudo3d » February 11th, 2020, 7:45 am

wnetmacman wrote:
February 10th, 2020, 11:44 pm
pseudo3d wrote:
February 10th, 2020, 10:06 pm
Forget Arlan's, they seem to be a good size for Rouses...
I would say negative on that.

Rouses typically doesn't buy failing stores outside their area. The Alabama and Mississippi stores they bought from the failing Belle Foods and Winn Dixie were among both chain's better stores. They are just barely getting to Lake Charles now, and I'm not too sure about the performance there. Additionally, they are trying to get a distribution center open near Houma that appears to be taking up a large amount of their cash flow right now.

They may be waiting on someone, but Rouses isn't it, plus they would give up a good number of good stores in Louisiana that are now hitched to the Houston Randalls division, which aren't that impressive any more. I'd put some bets on Kroger before Rouses. Rouses can't afford to take that much on right now.
If Albertsons buys (or at least invests in) Rouses, that could change. Yes, Rouses is family-owned and has stated that they don't want to sell, but in this unpredictable world that could change on a dime.

I still believe that Randalls' oddly specific closure pattern (focusing on closing the northern suburb stores) indicates they're looking for something, even if it doesn't pan out ultimately. That reasoning was probably why the Florida stores continued to exist--it may have been part of a failed bid to work with SEG somehow. After all, they were outed in talking with Golub (Price Chopper) not long after the Safeway stores went live. Possibly after SEG talks fell through (as they really should've, SEG's store base was more trouble than they were worth), that's when the Florida stores were officially moribund and eventually scuttled.

wnetmacman
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 796
Joined: January 17th, 2010, 2:36 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 9 times
Status: Offline

Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by wnetmacman » February 11th, 2020, 8:18 am

pseudo3d wrote:
February 11th, 2020, 7:45 am
If Albertsons buys (or at least invests in) Rouses, that could change. Yes, Rouses is family-owned and has stated that they don't want to sell, but in this unpredictable world that could change on a dime.
Rouses selling to Albertsons would need to have a VERY large price tag. I don't believe the Rouse family will want to sell their life's work (now in the 3rd generation of management) just to let Albertsons take over. The check would have to be a cashier's check for them to even logically consider it. Plus there is a large overlap in Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and Hammond to contend with. Too many good jobs would be lost.
pseudo3d wrote:
February 11th, 2020, 7:45 am
I still believe that Randalls' oddly specific closure pattern (focusing on closing the northern suburb stores) indicates they're looking for something, even if it doesn't pan out ultimately. That reasoning was probably why the Florida stores continued to exist--it may have been part of a failed bid to work with SEG somehow. After all, they were outed in talking with Golub (Price Chopper) not long after the Safeway stores went live. Possibly after SEG talks fell through (as they really should've, SEG's store base was more trouble than they were worth), that's when the Florida stores were officially moribund and eventually scuttled.
I agree that their Randalls closure pattern is irregular at best. It's no secret that Albertsons doesn't understand Houston. It's doubtful that they had confidence in continuing to understand Florida as well. SEG would have been a good takeover target for either Albertsons or Kroger, but way too much investment in the store base would have had to happen. WD is still operating some 28,000 square foot standard stores in too many places, and the larger ones need a major remodel in almost every case.

pseudo3d
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2666
Joined: November 12th, 2015, 7:01 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 8 times
Status: Offline

Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by pseudo3d » February 11th, 2020, 10:45 am

wnetmacman wrote:
February 11th, 2020, 8:18 am
I agree that their Randalls closure pattern is irregular at best. It's no secret that Albertsons doesn't understand Houston.
Eh...I disagree. The first time around, Albertsons had an opportunity to get into it between the fact that Randalls' debt load stunted growth, Kroger's outdated store base, H-E-B's smaller stores, and AppleTree's recent death, but it would have taken more time and investment to topple the Kroger/Randalls market share, and after ASC it was better to just give up on it and reinvest the money from the sales to save the other divisions. Smaller markets from the division like College Station continued to exist until LLC eventually sold the stores.

With the "return", Safeway didn't leave Albertsons a lot to work with regarding Randalls. They had neglected the chain to allow H-E-B and Kroger to get hopelessly ahead (especially in the suburbs), closed many of the nicer and larger stores, and with a bad reputation. Even if they fixed some of the egregious errors Safeway had made (getting rid of club card pricing, adding more local products, and converting to Boar's Head instead of Dietz & Watson), it really wouldn't have helped matters much.

Greggo
Bronze Member
Bronze Member
Posts: 8
Joined: September 30th, 2019, 7:24 pm
Status: Offline

Re: The present and future of Randalls

Post by Greggo » February 15th, 2020, 1:08 pm

Today is the last day for these 5 stores. The Panther Creek location closed early because they basically ran out of merchandise.

Here’s hoping the remaining locations can hang on.
Attachments
5CC73CC5-9B0F-45C3-8970-F7BFC005E591.jpeg

Post Reply