Wegmans cancels plans for a store in NC

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1111072036
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Wegmans cancels plans for a store in NC

Post by 1111072036 »

Sort of an odd move coming from Wegmans considering there wasn’t any neighborhood opposition to it (unlike the Buc-ee’s that was canceled two counties away). Online shopping looks to have been cited as a reason for the cancellation.

https://www.wral.com/wegmans-cancels-pr ... /19564949/
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Re: Wegmans cancels plans for a store in NC

Post by Knight »

Could Wegman's entry into North Carolina be quicker than it should be?
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Re: Wegmans cancels plans for a store in NC

Post by buckguy »

The Research Triangle area probably has turned out to be less lucrative than they expected---it's a growing bunch of sprawlburgs but despite the colleges and research organizations there, it probably doesn't have as many potential shoppers as they thought. They have more to offer than Publix or Harris-Teeter, whose prepared foods are a joke, but those chains are established there.
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Re: Wegmans cancels plans for a store in NC

Post by Romr123 »

Sounds like they've been working on this location for 4 years, according to the story, and the market has become increasingly competitive (LIDL, Aldi, etc etc) with even more competitors since then.
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Re: Wegmans cancels plans for a store in NC

Post by storewanderer »

Harris Teeter runs an excellent operation in the market. Night and day compared to their stores around DC which are not great. I would think Wegmans would be better than Harris Teeter but it may very well be that Wegmans is not so much better that they are capturing the customer counts they normally capture when they enter a market.

This is probably one of the least densely populated markets Wegman's has ever entered so it is also possible that is playing a role in their not doing as well as they expected to do. At least, canceling new stores typically means you are not doing as well as you expected to do... maybe that is not really the case.

Wegmans would be best to lay low and wait for Kroger to screw up Harris Teeter at which point many folks will be running for a store with higher quality products like Wegmans offers. So far Kroger has generally let Harris Teeter do its own thing and remain a high quality operation with higher pricing. That may last forever but history says otherwise.
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Re: Wegmans cancels plans for a store in NC

Post by pseudo3d »

storewanderer wrote: March 10th, 2021, 9:19 pm Harris Teeter runs an excellent operation in the market. Night and day compared to their stores around DC which are not great. I would think Wegmans would be better than Harris Teeter but it may very well be that Wegmans is not so much better that they are capturing the customer counts they normally capture when they enter a market.

This is probably one of the least densely populated markets Wegman's has ever entered so it is also possible that is playing a role in their not doing as well as they expected to do. At least, canceling new stores typically means you are not doing as well as you expected to do... maybe that is not really the case.

Wegmans would be best to lay low and wait for Kroger to screw up Harris Teeter at which point many folks will be running for a store with higher quality products like Wegmans offers. So far Kroger has generally let Harris Teeter do its own thing and remain a high quality operation with higher pricing. That may last forever but history says otherwise.
I don't see Kroger screwing up Harris Teeter at this point, they even have their own brand with its own designs, and the more likely end game would be putting it on the market. Would it work as an acquisition target for Wegmans...?
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Re: Wegmans cancels plans for a store in NC

Post by 1111072036 »

The RDU area is my home market so I can probably give a little insight as to what I’m seeing in the past couple of years:

- Publix has been here for a little under seven years, but has around eight stores; There is another one confirmed for a part of Wake County that isn’t served by Harris Teeter (Lowe’s foods is closer, but not in that particular municipality). Outside of that, there were at least two or three sites in the Triangle where they were chased away by neighborhood opposition.

- Not much has happened for Walmart or Food Lion outside of them getting a Kroger store. Bi-Lo never expanded to the Triangle, so there’s really no stores that they could sell to Food Lion.

- Lowe’s Foods could add a couple of stores in the area in the coming years, but I don’t think we’ll see a big expansion by them.

- Wegmans did draw a large opening crowd to their Raleigh store, with over 30,000 shoppers in attendance (making it one of their largest grand openings). However, I have noticed some complaints from their fanatics about store sizes being smaller (97-105K versus 115-130K) and the stores not having as many amenities. I don’t think they’re failing in this market (especially not with the fairly high concentration of transplants from the Northeast) but canceling a store in an area like this does send off a couple of red flags.

- Harris Teeter has increased the number of Kroger product lines in the store (Mainly with Simple Truth replacing the Harris Teeter Organics lines with more Private Selection lines being thrown in) but there were Kroger shoppers in the market who swore off HT either due to prices or Kroger’s handling of their store closing operation. Additionally, Harris Teeter has been reluctant to open any of their larger format (78K) stores in the Triangle. They opened two of them in Charlotte, and they also have a 72K store in Greensboro.

- Lidl and Aldi both opened new stores, but I think Lidl opened more.

- The site in question was near Cary Towne Center, a dead mall that was supposed to be partially redeveloped into an IKEA at one point until they pulled out of the project. There is speculation that since IKEA no longer wanted to build nearby, that Wegmans was doomed from the get-go

- Since Food Lion and Harris Teeter are still dominant in most places, there is a subset of Triangle shoppers that want something else.
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Re: Wegmans cancels plans for a store in NC

Post by storewanderer »

Could it be the customers in NC don't like the oversized Wegmans stores with congested/challenging parking lots? Harris Teeter stores skew smaller (still 45k square feet but that is small compared to a Wegmans). I am wondering if too few of the customers in NC like the Disney theme park type of crowd and experience for buying groceries that Wegmans provides.

I really think Harris Teeter does an exceptional job in that market and it may be hard to get customers to drive past multiple nice Harris Teeter Stores then deal with the congestion and increased time navigating an oversized Wegmans Store. Wegmans may have underestimated Harris Teeter's quality operation in that market after dealing with Harris Teeter's not so high quality operation around DC.

I forgot about Lowe's Foods. I was not at all impressed with them. I did go into a store they had recently remodeled which was a little better than the unremodeled ones. I would think Publix will take care of them real fast but perhaps they operate in neighborhoods Publix would not go into with a new store.

Having Wegmans and Publix together in the same market may also be too big of a contest. The way people rave about the two chains you'd think they are the same. Yet their stores are polar opposite in size, offerings, price structure, variety, etc.
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Re: Wegmans cancels plans for a store in NC

Post by TW-Upstate NY »

storewanderer wrote: March 11th, 2021, 10:20 pm Could it be the customers in NC don't like the oversized Wegmans stores with congested/challenging parking lots?.
Thank you! Somebody finally said what the heck I've been thinking since forever. Got news for you-this customer in Upstate NY hates oversized stores too and I doubt I'm alone. Give me that store in the 45-50K SF range any day. That is plenty of room to offer a pretty wide selection of more than a few items with plenty of room for variety in offerings and at least a few amenities. Also large enough you won't feel elbow to elbow with other shoppers. When I was a kid, most discount dept. stores were in that range size wise and they were plenty big. And at the time, your average supermarket was what maybe 15K SF or a touch larger? I remember back in 1975 Loblaws opened a store in Gloversville, NY (which was a replacement for the infamous store which they never removed the signage from which was finally torn down 40+ years later) and the company touted it as their largest store in the US. It checked in at 22,610 SF to be exact. I don't want to shop in a store the size of a small house especially these days but I don't need to be turned loose in what amounts to a mini distribution center everytime I shop for groceries either.
Last edited by TW-Upstate NY on March 13th, 2021, 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wegmans cancels plans for a store in NC

Post by Romr123 »

I think that's an excellent observation--people have limited interest in driving past perfectly attractive comprehensive stores (for instance, HT in the Triangle/Charlotte) to reach one of a few bigger comprehensiver stores... the situation in Chicago 25 years ago when Byerly's from Minneapolis went into the NW suburbs...it was an area where Dominicks (particularly) had recently remodeled most of their stores and Byerly's didn't last long. I would expect Wegmans to do particularly well in areas where the local supermarkets are not...all that. and don't have any local operators. Columbus, OH or Indianapolis...or (obviously off the table) Oklahoma.
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