WD Issues

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cjd
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Re: WD Issues

Post by cjd »

I felt like at first W-D did the right thing in bringing on Sweetbay's mangement. Most Sweebay stores here did seem to be run well. But W-D really added nothing to them when they bought them. It seemed like most of the promotion was to keep as much the same as possible so as not to alienate Sweebay's former customers.

Agreed on produce and bakery item freshness at Publix. It can be hit or miss. I've gotten bakery items that were just about ready to mold as soon as I got them. Sometimes the produce almost looks rotten in the store (this may be more their supplier issues though than store department management itself.) Winn DIxie's bananas often look better than what Publix has out in my experience.

But if I'm making a quick trip to the store generally I go to Publix and make one stop. Or Walmart if I happen to be going there anyway.
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Re: WD Issues

Post by Bagels »

cjd wrote: March 24th, 2020, 2:49 pm I felt like at first W-D did the right thing in bringing on Sweetbay's mangement. Most Sweebay stores here did seem to be run well. But W-D really added nothing to them when they bought them. It seemed like most of the promotion was to keep as much the same as possible so as not to alienate Sweebay's former customers.

Agreed on produce and bakery item freshness at Publix. It can be hit or miss. I've gotten bakery items that were just about ready to mold as soon as I got them. Sometimes the produce almost looks rotten in the store (this may be more their supplier issues though than store department management itself.) Winn DIxie's bananas often look better than what Publix has out in my experience.

But if I'm making a quick trip to the store generally I go to Publix and make one stop. Or Walmart if I happen to be going there anyway.
Produce is sold in lots based (largely) on size, color and taste. Whole Foods, Publix, Kroger, Albertsons, etc. buy the same lots of produce. The difference is in its handling... Whole Foods keeps most produce properly stored in the back, bringing out small batches at a time, and properly storing it in the evening. Kroger, Albertsons, etc. aren't nearly as labor intensive, but do have proper handling procedures; often, these aren't followed -- sometimes the employees are lazy and poorly supervised, sometimes there wasn't enough available help and the store operated short-handed and other times management intentionally shorted the schedule or sent employees home to reduce labor costs.

But alas, when you see or get bad produce... it's nearly always a reflection on management (sometimes there was a problem in the distribution channel, but that's not common). When I see produce that's clearly mishandled, I know better than to shop at that store, because you're guaranteed to find other problems (e.g. meat that wasn't properly handled, items that weren't properly rotated, expired items, etc.).
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Re: WD Issues

Post by storewanderer »

Bagels wrote: March 24th, 2020, 9:56 pm
cjd wrote: March 24th, 2020, 2:49 pm I felt like at first W-D did the right thing in bringing on Sweetbay's mangement. Most Sweebay stores here did seem to be run well. But W-D really added nothing to them when they bought them. It seemed like most of the promotion was to keep as much the same as possible so as not to alienate Sweebay's former customers.

Agreed on produce and bakery item freshness at Publix. It can be hit or miss. I've gotten bakery items that were just about ready to mold as soon as I got them. Sometimes the produce almost looks rotten in the store (this may be more their supplier issues though than store department management itself.) Winn DIxie's bananas often look better than what Publix has out in my experience.

But if I'm making a quick trip to the store generally I go to Publix and make one stop. Or Walmart if I happen to be going there anyway.
Produce is sold in lots based (largely) on size, color and taste. Whole Foods, Publix, Kroger, Albertsons, etc. buy the same lots of produce. The difference is in its handling... Whole Foods keeps most produce properly stored in the back, bringing out small batches at a time, and properly storing it in the evening. Kroger, Albertsons, etc. aren't nearly as labor intensive, but do have proper handling procedures; often, these aren't followed -- sometimes the employees are lazy and poorly supervised, sometimes there wasn't enough available help and the store operated short-handed and other times management intentionally shorted the schedule or sent employees home to reduce labor costs.

But alas, when you see or get bad produce... it's nearly always a reflection on management (sometimes there was a problem in the distribution channel, but that's not common). When I see produce that's clearly mishandled, I know better than to shop at that store, because you're guaranteed to find other problems (e.g. meat that wasn't properly handled, items that weren't properly rotated, expired items, etc.).
I have observed Smiths gets a lot of rotten produce right from its warehouse, especially berries.
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Re: WD Issues

Post by Bagels »

storewanderer wrote: March 24th, 2020, 10:30 pm have observed Smiths gets a lot of rotten produce right from its warehouse, especially berries.
There's the occasional failure in the distribution channel, but it shouldn't be frequent as the stores are suppose to reject and report it. If this isn't happening, it's yet another failure upon local (store) management.
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Re: WD Issues

Post by BillyGr »

Bagels wrote: March 25th, 2020, 11:31 am
storewanderer wrote: March 24th, 2020, 10:30 pm have observed Smiths gets a lot of rotten produce right from its warehouse, especially berries.
There's the occasional failure in the distribution channel, but it shouldn't be frequent as the stores are suppose to reject and report it. If this isn't happening, it's yet another failure upon local (store) management.
Makes sense normally, but right now it could be overlooked with everything else happening - even though stuff is selling quickly, I saw a posting of a banana display at 25 cents a pound, so you might expect they just got held up somewhere in shipping and with everything else the store was just happy to have something to fill a shelf and offer as a good deal for customers (as long as they could use it quickly).
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Re: WD Issues

Post by Bagels »

BillyGr wrote: March 25th, 2020, 1:53 pmMakes sense normally, but right now it could be overlooked with everything else happening - even though stuff is selling quickly, I saw a posting of a banana display at 25 cents a pound, so you might expect they just got held up somewhere in shipping and with everything else the store was just happy to have something to fill a shelf and offer as a good deal for customers (as long as they could use it quickly).
It may be that sales fell faster than the store expected when the order was placed. I've seen plenty of older meat & produce marked down in recent days at multiple stores, even though selection hasn't fully recovered. Heck, the nearest Ralphs was pricing bananas, regularly 69c/lb., at 19c, and older stock is about 10c (half off). Distribution centers have banana ripening rooms, so they're extremely easy to accelerate through the distribution channels.
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Re: WD Issues

Post by pseudo3d »

Apparently, Southeastern Grocers was planning an IPO that they cancelled because of the tumbles Kroger and Albertsons took today (and possibly the GameStop short squeeze, and the potential for wider problems in the stock market). Which is all very odd...in the last few years SEG has been selling stores, closing stores, downscaling stores, all the while Publix continues to squeeze the life out of it.

Albertsons IPO made sense because despite their high debt load, they had a lot of stores, a competent management team, and looking to grow their market share. Meanwhile, SEG has done nothing but disappoint.
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Re: WD Issues

Post by storewanderer »

I am really impressed this chain has even stayed in business and has not collapsed entirely. As you point out they seem to keep getting smaller. They can put out a pretty good store if they try but those seem to be few and far between. This is one where if Albertsons took it over, Albertsons would definitely improve merchandising, operations, product quality, and promotions from where they are currently at. Kroger would probably be an improvement too but at this point I am not really sure Kroger would be much of an improvement in the merchandising or quality or store operations, but Kroger would have sharper pricing and hotter ads.
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Re: WD Issues

Post by cjd »

Lately WD has been coming out with a concept of new, smaller stores, which have opened in a few locations in FL. These stores also have a new decor package which ties into the red and white package but is more colorful with greens, and other colors.

I'm guessing this will be yet another one of WD's fads (the first one being the transformational stores of the early 2010s) and that this won't really take off, and be shelved within about 5 years. The stores themselves will remain, but it won't become a large model for the chain.

WD has much inconsistency among their stores. Some stores are still open with the early 2000s "cheap white" remodels which were mainly quick redos of their 80s chrome and neon interior stores which had not been touched up until that point. A lot of these stores have since closed however.

Then they have the "late 2000s" remodels which still look pretty nice and were WD's first real attempt starting in 2008 to remodel all their stores after emerging from bankruptcy in 2006. These all got a thorough top to bottom remodel, although I always thought these stores looked a bit dated even when new, because some of the pastel colors used. Most of these stores were 80s build stores that previously had the cheap white remodel or are stores that originally were built with either the pastel or later yellow/teal Marketplace interiors in the 90s.

That was followed in the late 2000s/early 2010s by the Transformational stores. Most of these were opened in key markets where competition was high, and WD pumped a lot of money into these remodels. Typically these were 90s Marketplace stores, or in some cases were acquired from Publix. These stores today still look good, and WD has even redone a few of them with the newer red decor and black tile backsplashes in the service departments.

After Bi-Lo bought WD the transformational stores wound to a halt. Bi-Lo did a few WD remodels which were more on the scale of the "late 2000s" remodels, mostly with a green, black and beige interior and incorporating some elements of the Transformational concept. These stores look good, but not many were done.

By the mid 2010s WD/Bi-Lo rolled out the red decor. Some of these redos are pretty cheap, particularly when WD implemented this decor into the Sweetbay stores they acquired in 2013. Lately the red remodels have gotten a bit more substantial, and more colorful, which sort of spun off into the decor I mentioned at the start of this post.

And if that isn't enough, the Sweetbay stores WD acquired are an entirely other category! WD did not do much to these stores other than any sprucing up that needed to be done and a few minor decor and equipment changes. They did not want to alienate Sweetbay shoppers, therefore they did not even move product aisles around. Most of these stores had been renovated after 2004-2006 when Kash N Karry transitioned to Sweetbay, and in the early 2000s under Kash N Karry, so they weren't all that dated, but weren't up to Publix modernity either. There were even a few Sweetbays that were being built right up until WD bought the chain, and these also have a different decor themselves and a very modern layout.

So WD is really just a conglomeration of all sorts of stores with all kinds of decors, ranging from original build WD stores and Sweetbay acquired stores.

Also this is just my experience from FL stores, things may be even more different in other states. I think some of the LA and AL stores may be less up to date.
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Re: WD Issues

Post by pseudo3d »

cjd wrote: January 30th, 2021, 9:06 am Lately WD has been coming out with a concept of new, smaller stores, which have opened in a few locations in FL. These stores also have a new decor package which ties into the red and white package but is more colorful with greens, and other colors.

I'm guessing this will be yet another one of WD's fads (the first one being the transformational stores of the early 2010s) and that this won't really take off, and be shelved within about 5 years. The stores themselves will remain, but it won't become a large model for the chain.

WD has much inconsistency among their stores. Some stores are still open with the early 2000s "cheap white" remodels which were mainly quick redos of their 80s chrome and neon interior stores which had not been touched up until that point. A lot of these stores have since closed however.

Then they have the "late 2000s" remodels which still look pretty nice and were WD's first real attempt starting in 2008 to remodel all their stores after emerging from bankruptcy in 2006. These all got a thorough top to bottom remodel, although I always thought these stores looked a bit dated even when new, because some of the pastel colors used. Most of these stores were 80s build stores that previously had the cheap white remodel or are stores that originally were built with either the pastel or later yellow/teal Marketplace interiors in the 90s.

That was followed in the late 2000s/early 2010s by the Transformational stores. Most of these were opened in key markets where competition was high, and WD pumped a lot of money into these remodels. Typically these were 90s Marketplace stores, or in some cases were acquired from Publix. These stores today still look good, and WD has even redone a few of them with the newer red decor and black tile backsplashes in the service departments.

After Bi-Lo bought WD the transformational stores wound to a halt. Bi-Lo did a few WD remodels which were more on the scale of the "late 2000s" remodels, mostly with a green, black and beige interior and incorporating some elements of the Transformational concept. These stores look good, but not many were done.

By the mid 2010s WD/Bi-Lo rolled out the red decor. Some of these redos are pretty cheap, particularly when WD implemented this decor into the Sweetbay stores they acquired in 2013. Lately the red remodels have gotten a bit more substantial, and more colorful, which sort of spun off into the decor I mentioned at the start of this post.

And if that isn't enough, the Sweetbay stores WD acquired are an entirely other category! WD did not do much to these stores other than any sprucing up that needed to be done and a few minor decor and equipment changes. They did not want to alienate Sweetbay shoppers, therefore they did not even move product aisles around. Most of these stores had been renovated after 2004-2006 when Kash N Karry transitioned to Sweetbay, and in the early 2000s under Kash N Karry, so they weren't all that dated, but weren't up to Publix modernity either. There were even a few Sweetbays that were being built right up until WD bought the chain, and these also have a different decor themselves and a very modern layout.

So WD is really just a conglomeration of all sorts of stores with all kinds of decors, ranging from original build WD stores and Sweetbay acquired stores.

Also this is just my experience from FL stores, things may be even more different in other states. I think some of the LA and AL stores may be less up to date.
Louisiana cut most of its stores west of the Mississippi River several years ago (selling them to Brookshire, which converted them to Super 1), so now Winn-Dixie's western expansion only goes to Baton Rouge instead of around Lafayette. From what I could tell, and wnetmacman may be able to chime in, Rouses' entry into Baton Rouge (acquiring stores from a local chain but also some new builds) has put some pressure on Winn-Dixie, which previously largely had to fend off Albertsons and independents (and of course Walmart Neighborhood Market)...but then again, New Orleans has had Winn-Dixie survive for decades as A&P drove out Albertsons (and those A&P stores are now Rouses), and it had one of those late-2000s "transformational" stores (which is not getting any newer).

Between the Baton Rouge and New Orleans market, Winn-Dixie and Albertsons have both lost stores, the former faring the worse.

For the past few years, Albertsons (despite some store pruning) has been rolling out some attractive new-builds with nice features. Winn-Dixie's biggest "new openings" from what I can see is moving into Lucky's Market spaces, which are neither standard size stores or particularly upscale.
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