Crucial times for Shoppers

Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. No non-grocery posts.
mjhale
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Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by mjhale » March 25th, 2019, 7:39 am

storewanderer wrote:
March 21st, 2019, 10:47 pm

It will be very interesting to see who the buyer is, or if we have "buyers."
I'm just trying to figure out who would be interested in the Shoppers stores. Aldi or Lidl taking a portion of a store? International grocery stores? ShopRite especially in Baltimore where they already have stores? Giant has already taken several former Shoppers locations but will they continue with more? And of course there is always Publix who is constantly rumored to be looking for locations in the DC area.

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Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by buckguy » March 25th, 2019, 2:45 pm

The stores are too big for Aldi & Lidl. Giant has been pretty selective. Some will go to ethnic chains---I recently was in an old Shopper's that's now a very popular Asian market.

They don't have any locations Publix would want. I think Shop-Rite would be very interesting---they already have one store in Cherry Hill (an old Super Fresh). They are the one chain that could provide somthing different for DC--better perishables than Giant or Safeway and probably better pricing. They would be what Harris Teeter wants to think it is---except its a store full of high priced stuff and perishables that look better than they really are. The question would be who would operate the stores (Shop-Rite or individual operators). I think the Baltimore stores are all individual operator-driven.

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Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by BatteryMill » March 25th, 2019, 5:39 pm

buckguy wrote:
March 21st, 2019, 12:06 pm
Looks like Shoppers is finished:

https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/ ... tores.html
Well... I don't know what's yet but that's how I guess one of the area's biggest grocers ends - with a whimper. For one, while I'm sad to see them go they certainly were a bleak, bland grocer towards the end. It will be interesting to see who takes over, though like Farm Fresh I hope there may be a few that someone will carry the Shoppers name over with.
The one thing I'm hoping for is, though, that the Colossal Donuts end up somewhere else...

As for any insight... from what I have researched I feel Shoppers was already troubled in the 90s. As they rapidly grew in the D.C. area the management was embroiled in the Haft vs. Herman scandal. The scandal itself was a rather tough story, as both companies fought over control until the Haft's Dart group bought SFW entirely. While they resorted to Richfood in 1998 after the Dart fallout, Shoppers' new parent company was subsequently gobbled up by SuperValu who was looking to expand their distribution facilities. The effects weren't too apparent as Shoppers continued growth in the 2000s and reached their peak of 65 stores. I assume Shoppers really started their downward slide as competitors such as Walmart, Aldi, and Wegmans expanded in the 2010s and SuperValu faltered as well (unable to care for the stores much). Now that they're in debt they're just concerned of getting their stores out - and I doubt there's too much interest in Shoppers as a brand.
bm11k wrote:
March 22nd, 2019, 1:29 pm
Hornbacher's did get sold,
So Cub is the only chain left
I guessed it considering Cub is SuperValu's most successful chain here.
It'd basically be like SVU owned Giant-MD over Shoppers.

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Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by buckguy » March 29th, 2019, 8:57 am

One option Shop-Rite already is exercising is their PriceRite format, which has 2 stores in Prince Georges County, MD and one in Woodbridge, VA, as well as several in/near Baltimore. This would be a good fit for smaller Shoppers stores, esp. those in less affluent areas. Shop-Rite's normal format might work better in places like the White Flint area which is relatively well-off.

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Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by storewanderer » March 29th, 2019, 11:58 pm

buckguy wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 8:57 am
One option Shop-Rite already is exercising is their PriceRite format, which has 2 stores in Prince Georges County, MD and one in Woodbridge, VA, as well as several in/near Baltimore. This would be a good fit for smaller Shoppers stores, esp. those in less affluent areas. Shop-Rite's normal format might work better in places like the White Flint area which is relatively well-off.
I never found Shop Rite to be a particularly upscale operator. Sort of seemed like a hybrid between a discount and an overpriced marginal conventional like a Safeway or A&P. Better prices and mix than the marginal conventional, but I'm not sure about the quality.

But Shop Rite is probably the best fit for the Shoppers Stores. I am not sure if Shoppers has any "bad area" stores which may be more fitting for the Price Rite concept.

Is Shoppers union? Is Shop Rite?

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Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by buckguy » March 30th, 2019, 7:20 am

PriceRite isn't a low income neighborhood format--the typical store is an older, usually smaller one in an inner ring suburb with a low/middle to middle income profile. The stores they have in the DC area fit that profile and the one in Woodbridge has a large immigrant base to which they have been able to cater---doing that would help them in areas that have ethnic markets, which tend to be a mixed bag in the DC area. The remaining Shoppers stores in the DC suburbs split such a way that all but a couple Prince Georges County locations (where they have the bulk of their stores) could be Price Rite candidates. The handful in Montgomery County mostly could go either way. The ones in Virginia probably have as many or more ShopRite candidates as Price Rite. Except for locations north of the city or perhaps one S of it, the Baltimore area locations look like PriceRite candidates

What's significant about Baltimore is that ShopRite planned a new build in East Baltimore back in the 90s---it never materialized but that and the their shortlived presence in the DC area during the 60s would suggest they have thought through how to service DC/Baltimore more than once.

ShopRite operators usually emphasize perishables which are a draw for affluent customers. Their bakery/deli operations could easily fill the niche that Giant-Landover once had and they could easily compete with Harris-Teeter where stuff tends to look better than it tastes. The high cost of living in the Northeast makes a price-senstive format attractive to a lot of people---ShopRite has no trouble operating in well-off areas even if they lack the patina of a more expensive niche player like Kings.

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Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by BatteryMill » April 14th, 2019, 7:38 pm

As somewhat of a correction, UNFI/SuperValu state that Shoppers isn't immediately closing stores - but could they in the future?:

http://www.ufcw400.org/2019/04/04/meeti ... formation/

Also, as another update - Shoppers is going to start closing all their in-store pharmacy departments:

http://www.ufcw400.org/2019/04/11/shopp ... harmacies/

One thing to remember here is that SFW did not have any pharmacies prior to the SuperValu acquisition in 1999, only adding them in around the time of the deal. With this I am not sure if UNFI is either preparing to end Shoppers operations, or by chance bring them back to their roots in preparation for a new owner. Anyhow I at least hope the employees will fare well during this tough time for the chain.

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Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by storewanderer » April 14th, 2019, 7:47 pm

BatteryMill wrote:
April 14th, 2019, 7:38 pm
As somewhat of a correction, UNFI/SuperValu state that Shoppers isn't immediately closing stores - but could they in the future?:

http://www.ufcw400.org/2019/04/04/meeti ... formation/

Also, as another update - Shoppers is going to start closing all their in-store pharmacy departments:

http://www.ufcw400.org/2019/04/11/shopp ... harmacies/

One thing to remember here is that SFW did not have any pharmacies prior to the SuperValu acquisition in 1999, only adding them in around the time of the deal. With this I am not sure if UNFI is either preparing to end Shoppers operations, or by chance bring them back to their roots in preparation for a new owner. Anyhow I at least hope the employees will fare well during this tough time for the chain.
It appears to me what is happening here is UNFI was trying to market these things as going concerns but now they are just simply marketing them. Closing pharmacy makes zero sense if you plan to sell stores to an operator like Safeway, Giant, Harris Teeter, etc. who has in-store pharmacy. But it makes a lot of sense if you plan to close stores, then sell stores piecemeal (translation: break the union) to various operators.

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Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by BatteryMill » April 15th, 2019, 6:08 pm

storewanderer wrote:
April 14th, 2019, 7:47 pm
It appears to me what is happening here is UNFI was trying to market these things as going concerns but now they are just simply marketing them. Closing pharmacy makes zero sense if you plan to sell stores to an operator like Safeway, Giant, Harris Teeter, etc. who has in-store pharmacy. But it makes a lot of sense if you plan to close stores, then sell stores piecemeal (translation: break the union) to various operators.
So I see why UNFI went lowkey with their plans - I admit the original announcement was a bit rushed and sent the market into a frenzy. That being said I hope they actually work this out well and say what they need to say.

Still I don't really know how pharmacy closures factor into anything but it's understandable considering union issues, even if succeeding grocers are still union. Honestly I wonder if Farm Fresh went through such a similar process before they were shut down, as in if they shut down pharmacies before the liquidation sales began. For one, I know they closed most (or all) of their stores before they were opened by buyers.

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Re: Crucial times for Shoppers

Post by storewanderer » May 11th, 2019, 11:22 pm

I got to go into a single Shoppers this week.

It was exactly how I remembered Shoppers.

The store was clean and orderly. Well maintained, bright, the physical plant was in great shape. The decor was probably modern in 2005 but still looks fine. There was a good amount of traffic in the store. Perimeter areas were organized and staffed. Pricing was pretty marginal overall; some fair prices mixed along a lot of not very good prices (maybe not quite as bad as Safeway or Food Lion who seem to be the two high price leaders at this time, even higher than Harris Teeter on a lot of center store which is a shock). Produce was especially terrible in price, but looked fine.

Was surprised to see they have even updated to EMV Contactless for payment processing. All of the grocers out west on that NCR register system are still using the older MSD Contactless (the thing that is being phased out and caused JCP to stop accepting any Contactless).

Nearby this store was a Food Lion and a Weis. This Shoppers was by far the busiest of the three. The Food Lion was the nicest Food Lion I've ever seen as far as the physical plant goes (exposed ceilings, ( ) shaped aisles and checkout area) with the usual Food Lion perimeter - very limited. I was really surprised how high Food Lion's prices were. But that is for another thread.

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