Who will get Fairway?

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storewanderer
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Re: Who will get Fairway?

Post by storewanderer » March 19th, 2020, 11:33 pm

Bagels wrote:
March 19th, 2020, 10:29 pm
Stranger things have happened, but I'd be really surprised if Albertsons was interested. They've struggled with the ex-A&P stores; they took a huge impairment charge not that long ago, and awhile ago somebody posted an internal document on Reddit that showed the majority of the stores were between $15M - $20M in annual sales. A quick Google search yields the corporate average (per Statista) is $26.5M, so if accurate, they're well below average.
$15M-$20M on the more densely populated east coast is particularly terrible volume as many chains back there like the Ahold chains, Shop Rite, Wegmans, Market Basket, etc. easily do double that in volume if not more.

I am sure if they are cheap enough Albertsons would be interested. It kind of seems like Albertsons east coast operations are the new A&P back there.

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Re: Who will get Fairway?

Post by pseudo3d » March 20th, 2020, 4:46 pm

storewanderer wrote:
March 19th, 2020, 11:33 pm
Bagels wrote:
March 19th, 2020, 10:29 pm
Stranger things have happened, but I'd be really surprised if Albertsons was interested. They've struggled with the ex-A&P stores; they took a huge impairment charge not that long ago, and awhile ago somebody posted an internal document on Reddit that showed the majority of the stores were between $15M - $20M in annual sales. A quick Google search yields the corporate average (per Statista) is $26.5M, so if accurate, they're well below average.
$15M-$20M on the more densely populated east coast is particularly terrible volume as many chains back there like the Ahold chains, Shop Rite, Wegmans, Market Basket, etc. easily do double that in volume if not more.

I am sure if they are cheap enough Albertsons would be interested. It kind of seems like Albertsons east coast operations are the new A&P back there.
I'd like to see that document, but Google turns up nothing. I wonder exactly why the stores are doing so poorly. It's not like Lucky, where the format was changed so dramatically it drove customers away. Is it just higher prices, or were the stores going down the drain anyway?

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Re: Who will get Fairway?

Post by Bagels » March 20th, 2020, 6:21 pm

pseudo3d wrote:
March 20th, 2020, 4:46 pm
I'd like to see that document, but Google turns up nothing. I wonder exactly why the stores are doing so poorly. It's not like Lucky, where the format was changed so dramatically it drove customers away. Is it just higher prices, or were the stores going down the drain anyway?
It was posted a couple years ago or so in a retail employee forum. I haven't been into an ACME that was a former A&P, but from reading Yelp reviews (and they're pretty bad... most stores are one or two stars) people complain most about the conditions of the store, the high prices and the poor quality within the deli and bakery. The early closing times within the meat/deli/bakery also come up fairly often.

Albertsons corporate pricing strategy is interesting... at Jewel stores in Chicagoland, it's pretty aggressive on price, and promotions are solid. Here in Southern California, shelf prices are ridiculously high but promotions are generally really good. I'm not familiar with the NYC-area market, but ACME's prices seem pretty high, and upon quick glance, promotions seem mediocre, especially compared to what I saw competitors offering.

Looking at various Yelp reviews, many of the (ex-A&P family) ACME stores still have some variation of the 1990s A&P interiors I'm familiar with (from growing up in the 80s and 90s and being dragged into A&P and later A&P-owned Farmer Jack on a regular basis). Albertsons remodels appear to be on the cheap -- most appeared to receive new paint/signage, some replacement furniture/fixtures and a full-service meat & seafood counter (which was absent from A&P). The variation in interiors is ridiculous. Heck, even renovated stores have a mixture of Albertsons and A&P furnishings. It seems like Albertsons did the least amount of work they thought was necessary (and I bet the "new" furniture/fixture was from closed stores under its umbrella).

From what I can tell, the deli and bakery offerings appear to be similar to what's sold here in SoCal. No complaints on my end - Albertsons has some of the best deli and bakery offerings of any traditional supermarket, and its pricing in this area beats everybody but Walmart. I don't know what A&P was offering, but I imagine it'd have to be an improvement. In Metro Detroit, most of their deli and bakery items were prepared in store (they built a central kitchen to replace this, but it I don't believe it opened before the chain was liquidated) and "just okay" at best.

The early last call for the meat counter, deli and bakery also exists here in SoCal and may be company wide. I agree this is pretty annoying -- the 7PM-8PM closing times are two to three hours earlier than the competition. I'll never get that.

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Re: Who will get Fairway?

Post by BillyGr » March 22nd, 2020, 2:25 pm

Bagels wrote:
March 20th, 2020, 6:21 pm
pseudo3d wrote:
March 20th, 2020, 4:46 pm
I'd like to see that document, but Google turns up nothing. I wonder exactly why the stores are doing so poorly. It's not like Lucky, where the format was changed so dramatically it drove customers away. Is it just higher prices, or were the stores going down the drain anyway?
It was posted a couple years ago or so in a retail employee forum. I haven't been into an ACME that was a former A&P, but from reading Yelp reviews (and they're pretty bad... most stores are one or two stars) people complain most about the conditions of the store, the high prices and the poor quality within the deli and bakery. The early closing times within the meat/deli/bakery also come up fairly often.

Albertsons corporate pricing strategy is interesting... at Jewel stores in Chicagoland, it's pretty aggressive on price, and promotions are solid. Here in Southern California, shelf prices are ridiculously high but promotions are generally really good. I'm not familiar with the NYC-area market, but ACME's prices seem pretty high, and upon quick glance, promotions seem mediocre, especially compared to what I saw competitors offering.

Looking at various Yelp reviews, many of the (ex-A&P family) ACME stores still have some variation of the 1990s A&P interiors I'm familiar with (from growing up in the 80s and 90s and being dragged into A&P and later A&P-owned Farmer Jack on a regular basis). Albertsons remodels appear to be on the cheap -- most appeared to receive new paint/signage, some replacement furniture/fixtures and a full-service meat & seafood counter (which was absent from A&P). The variation in interiors is ridiculous. Heck, even renovated stores have a mixture of Albertsons and A&P furnishings. It seems like Albertsons did the least amount of work they thought was necessary (and I bet the "new" furniture/fixture was from closed stores under its umbrella).

From what I can tell, the deli and bakery offerings appear to be similar to what's sold here in SoCal. No complaints on my end - Albertsons has some of the best deli and bakery offerings of any traditional supermarket, and its pricing in this area beats everybody but Walmart. I don't know what A&P was offering, but I imagine it'd have to be an improvement. In Metro Detroit, most of their deli and bakery items were prepared in store (they built a central kitchen to replace this, but it I don't believe it opened before the chain was liquidated) and "just okay" at best.

The early last call for the meat counter, deli and bakery also exists here in SoCal and may be company wide. I agree this is pretty annoying -- the 7PM-8PM closing times are two to three hours earlier than the competition. I'll never get that.
Having not been to one either, I also heard from various places that people found the prices to be higher (even more in some cases than A&P had been charging, which was already on the high end).

As to the remodels - when they first took over, they only closed for a few days at each location, so really all they did was switch needed systems, put Acme stickers over A&P logos on signs, reset with Acme brands and stuff like that. Makes sense since they were trying to convert 70 stores in a fairly short time.
I'm not sure that all of the stores have even gotten a more extensive remodel, but it seems likely that many would have gotten minimal ones if they did, just for the costs with that many going on in a short time and not being sure which would wind up doing well and which might (as some have) close down.

About the only thing I remember deli wise was that some did have Boars Head items for meats and such as A&P - I generally went into A&P stores away from home (as at the end, the closest one was about an hour away) so I mainly got good deals on non perishable stuff or an occasional something to use then (something you could take back to your lodging to snack on, for example).

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Re: Who will get Fairway?

Post by Bagels » March 22nd, 2020, 8:33 pm

BillyGr wrote:
March 22nd, 2020, 2:25 pm
Having not been to one either, I also heard from various places that people found the prices to be higher (even more in some cases than A&P had been charging, which was already on the high end).

As to the remodels - when they first took over, they only closed for a few days at each location, so really all they did was switch needed systems, put Acme stickers over A&P logos on signs, reset with Acme brands and stuff like that. Makes sense since they were trying to convert 70 stores in a fairly short time.
I'm not sure that all of the stores have even gotten a more extensive remodel, but it seems likely that many would have gotten minimal ones if they did, just for the costs with that many going on in a short time and not being sure which would wind up doing well and which might (as some have) close down.

About the only thing I remember deli wise was that some did have Boars Head items for meats and such as A&P - I generally went into A&P stores away from home (as at the end, the closest one was about an hour away) so I mainly got good deals on non perishable stuff or an occasional something to use then (something you could take back to your lodging to snack on, for example).
Arguably, A&P's biggest mistake was, in the early 2000s, raising its prices and cutting back on promotions; sales and market share began a chain-wide freefall that it never recovered from. Albertsons' pricing is set locally by management. Many managers that were with A&P, are now with Albertsons. Maybe that's the problem?

Albertsons' handing on the transition is consistent with how other chains have digested competitors. But Albertsons has been slow to renovate the stores, and the renovations they've done appear on the cheap. One store I saw on Yelp was closed for over a month, yet when it opened it remained most of the old A&P flooring and many of its fixtures (including the shelving). Albertsons definitely knows how to do a top notch renovation -- take a look at the Pavilions chain -- so it's disappointing. Then again, half-ass renovations is very typical of the company...

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Re: Who will get Fairway?

Post by pseudo3d » March 26th, 2020, 6:24 am

Looks like VSM managed to outbid Food Bazaar and got their six stores plus the DC, a Key Food affiliate got one store, and Amazon got the leases on two, with the others continuing to operate for the time being.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-release ... 30037.html

Both VSM and the Key Food company purchased the stores as going concerns, and I presume VSM got the Fairway name. So it looks like if VSM purchased the name, it would create essentially two Fairway chains, with VSM operating the prime locations and the actual company operating the other locations with a license. I don't know if Fairway will get its items from its old distribution center or a third party, but I suspect that Fairway will continue to sell off its stores and then closing down later that year if no buyers.

EDIT: From further reading, the changeovers won't happen in a few more months, at which point Fairway will probably close or sell off its remaining locations.

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Re: Who will get Fairway?

Post by pseudo3d » July 30th, 2020, 9:15 pm

So now Fairway is down to just two stores that aren't sold yet, with the Red Hook and Douglaston stores being sold to Food Bazaar (Bogopa), the Plainview and Harlem store closing (opening in 2001 and 1995 respectively, the oldest stores beyond the 1930s original), and the Westbury, N.Y., and Stamford, Conn. stores still up for grabs. The Stamford store is one of the largest in the chain (80k square foot, nothing to scoff at).

I wonder if Albertsons will bite after all.

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