mjhale wrote: ↑
October 2nd, 2019, 6:57 pm
If you look at what Ahold has done with Giant one will note that any store with older or very old decor has been closed. The only exception is the University Mall store near George Mason University. It got a demo and rebuild as a part of the shopping center renovations. But even that project happened long after the rest of the center Giant is in got a facelift. The two most recent Giant store closures in my area - Fairfax City and Hayfield (Alexandria) both had the Fresh Ideas, Great Values interior. And of course the straight out the 90s neon interior Milford Mill store in Baltimore is now closed.
I have to wonder what Ahold's purpose is with Food Lion in the immediate DC area. The two stores closest to me - Leesburg and Herndon - both still have the Bloom interior. The Herndon store is near where I work and it is never that busy. There is a huge Giant nearby in Franklin Farm along with a brand new Giant in the former Herndon Shoppers. Within five miles of each of these Food Lion stores you have all of the usual competitors. If Food Lion has renovated 80 percent of the store base is there other 20 percent going to be left to die? Food Lion is the weakest competitor in Northern Virginia. I think Ahold kept them around to have a few strategically located stores in their group and to keep competitors out. If Ahold doesn't renovate the few DC area Food Lion stores soon I think they are going away when the leases on the buildings are up.
Giant is obviously more important here than Food Lion - their remodels have been consistent, and they've been successful in nearly every part of the region. As of now there are still some exceptions, such as Accokeek, Dale City and Livingston Square. While the latter is a newer store that doesn't seem to have moved forward with a remodel yet, the others have redevelopment plans that are still stuck in limbo. Overall Ahold has definitely kept these stores up well, at the expense of classic retail history that's mostly been forgotten. Those closed stores weren't in the best locations, nor had the best reasons to expand.
Food Lion is certainly in a tough spot here with the presence of cousin chain Giant, discounter options and more expensive ones. At this point it's one of the very few regions where Ahold and Delhaize chains collide. That being said they certainly had a place before the new wave of grocers, serving various suburban area, though the Bloom/Bottom Dollar experiment and subsequent closings stretched them thin. I haven't been to that many area Food Lions so I cannot tell how each performs. From what I've seen some are in decent spots where they serve groceries to a whole community or town (this is true in the inner suburbs as well) while others are just too close to the competition. If there was someone to acquire them, I'd assume it would be Weis as they've found success in these kinds of stores before and could easily re-enter their old region. Interestingly enough, the Food Lion in Lake Ridge is just across from a Giant - and was formerly a Weis itself, still retaining the old floorplan.
The only stores Food Lion remodeled in this area after 2007 were the former Bottom Dollar locations. From what I've read their Bottom Dollar conversions heavily skewed the floorplan and had a decor package tailored exclusively to their marketing. This likely necessitated Food Lion to give those stores updates around 2013, whereas the Bloom format largely involved technological/prepared foods upgrades and didn't require remodels back to Food Lion. Interestingly enough FL did schedule remodels for those former Blooms, but for some odd reason none of them ever happened.
buckguy wrote: ↑
October 3rd, 2019, 5:57 am
The FL near where I work has held-on but it's near a huge, high volume Giant, a new Safeway, and the planned location of a Wegman. H-T and Shoppers are not far away, either. Perhaps it's the absence of WalMart that keeps the store in business, along with it being the only store in Montgomery County. It was a Bloom for a while which they must have thought would make them more competitive here.
If FL can manage without doing media buys, then they probably will keep it going in peripheral and odd locations in the DC, which seem to be what they have in the DC area. The gradual demise of Shoppers theoretically should help them but Shoppers is concentrated in area like southern Prince George's County where they lack representation, so Shopper's decline only helps if they can buy and figure out what to do with the stores, and they'd still have to deal with Aldi and the recent entry of Lidl.
One consideration with DC is that there is a very long history of chains maintaining a relatively long presence w/o having many stores: Acme (despite having been here since the 20s) and Food Fair had very small store counts for decades and used DC as an adjunct to bigger operations in Baltimore. Weis had stores in the outer burbs for a couple decades. The predecessor to Shoppers, Jumbo never had many stores. OTOH, some small holders were very short lived: Kroger made an acquisition that never succeeded c. 1959-64 and Shop-Rite made a brief unsuccessful appearance in the 60s.
Some of the places where Food Lion landed over the years are peculiar. As I’ve mentioned earlier, their strength in locating in newer/rural areas definitely contributed to this.
I’ve seen a few instances of FL making advertisement attempts, such as billboards, circulars, and commercials every now and then.
Shoppers is a story for another thread, though from what I now know there are multiple buyers looking into that chain. Giant has acquired upwards of 12 stores, while Safeway isn’t making any moves. Perhaps Food Lion will go into those smaller stores, but Maryland is certainly more Weis-focused so it’s a little tough to tell.
Food Lion would easily fit into the first category you mentioned. They have had a steady presence in the suburbs, however they’ve never went inside the Beltway (except for a short-lived Bloom in Annandale). Only time will tell what their next move will be.