- Southeastern Grocers has been converting some Winn-Dixie stores to the company’s discount-oriented Harveys Supermarket banner, according to Retail Leader. Most recently, seven Florida stores underwent the change, boosting Harveys total store base to 77 locations in four states. The company also has operations in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
- Key features of the rebranded Harveys units include a red and yellow color palette (colors often used to depict promotional intensity), bright lights, low prices and a plethora of discount-related signage throughout the store. A dollar store-type merchandising concept has been added to the middle of each location, featuring 1,200 items all priced at $1.00.
- The company’s initial Harveys value-oriented prototype was introduced in May 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. Since then, the new design elements and lower pricing scheme has been rolled out to all Harveys locations.
Winn-Dixie is your quintessential example of a conventional supermarket positioned in the middle — a retailer that is neither a premium operation nor a store at the extremely low end of the pricing spectrum — leaving it vulnerable to the evolving grocery landscape. The retailer has been struggling for years in an incredibly intense and increasingly crowded marketplace. In its home state of Florida, Winn-Dixie faces formidable competition with Publix and Walmart.
To better compete, the retailer has been busy converting some Winn-Dixie stores to its discount Harveys banner where it makes sense based on local market needs and demographics. Indications are that the conversions so far are successful because the company continues to transition more units to the discount format.
“Due to the overwhelming positive customer response of recent Harveys Supermarket openings and extensive customer listening sessions, we have identified that our Harveys Supermarket banner is best tailored to provide the service, products and prices our customers in the area desire,” said Anthony Hucker, Southeastern Grocers president and CEO when the recent round of stores debuted, reports Retail Leader.
This seems to have been a savvy move with Southeastern Grocers breathing new life into the struggling format in some relatively simple and inexpensive ways. These have included adding a dedicated $1 Zone section, cosmetic changes such as fresh paint and a new store façade, and deploying discount-related branding throughout the store.
An old business adage says, “All strategies eventually fail.” Retailing is no exception. Failed strategies, bankruptcies and going out of business are all too common in retailing where consumers, competitors, technology and other factors evolve at a rapid pace. The retail lifecycle is short-lived. The most successful retailers must continually reinvent themselves to remain relevant. Converting stores to another banner or repositioning an existing brand not only is a viable but often necessary strategy.
Winn-Dixie recognized this and moved to reestablish some units under the Harveys banner. Given the success it has had recently, more Harveys locations are likely in the cards. Another grocer recently undergoing some changes is Ahold Delhaize's Food Lion, also a conventional middle-market supermarket located in the competitive southeastern U.S.
Although Food Lion did not change its nameplate, it did sink substantial capital into remodeling projects in North Carolina and Virginia to lower prices, expand the assortment of produce and other fresh products, and make stores easier to navigate. Food Lion has now updated 544 of its 1,000 stores since 2014 when it kicked off its remodeling push. At more than $1 million per location, these updates aren’t cheap. But they’re vitally important for legacy retailers to implement at a time of unparalleled competition.