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Barbara Farfan

Significant Retail Store Closings Reveal Grocery Chains That Don't Know How to Compete, and One Grocery Chain With No Competition - Trader Joe’s (SWY, WMT, TGT, COST)

By October 27, 2013

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A significant number of newest additions to the 2013 Store Closing Roundup list have come from the grocery retailing segment in the past couple of months. Bi-Lo, Dominick's, JustSave, Lowes, MainStreet Market, Save Mart, Sweetbay, Fresh & Easy, Ralph's, Shaws, and Safeway (SWY) are some of the grocery retail brands that have been closing stores, and announcing store closing intentions.

But store closing numbers alone don't come close to telling the story of the Merger-Acquisition-Buy-Sell-Open-Close-Brand-Rebrand (MABSOCB&R) activity that's been happening in the grocery segment of the U.S. retail industry. Here's a roundup of some of the more MABSOCB&R significant activites in 2013:

  • Safeway is closing 72 Domincik's Grocery stores in the Chicago area.
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  • Safeway sold its Canadian stores to Empire Co. for $4 billion.
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  • It is rumored that Cerberus wants to acquire the Safeway chain for the $4 billion cash from its Canadian sale, and that Cerberus is working on making a successful bid for Safeway.
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  • Cerberus purchased Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw's Star Market chains, and a 30% stake in Supervalu.
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  • Cerberus-owned Jewel-Osco purchased three of the 72 Dominick's stores that were slated for closure by Safeway, and may purchase as many as 30 more.
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  • With acquisitions, Cerberus has almost completely reassembled the Albertson's chain that was split up in a 2006 leveraged buyout. The parent company for that chain is now New Albertsons Inc.
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  • New Albertson's Inc. purchased United Supermarkets, Market Street, and Amigos supermarkets based in Lubbock, TX.
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  • Bi-Lo purchased Piggly Wiggly and will rebrand 22 of those Piggly Wiggly stores to the Bi-Lo brand in South Carolina and Georgia.
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  • Bi-Lo purchased Sweetbay, Harveys and Redi's supermarket chains from Delhaize group. Sweetbay stores will be rebranded Winn-Dixie stores, and Reid's stores will be rebranded into Bi-Lo stores. Harvey's will remain harvey's for now.
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  • Publix purchased seven Bi-Lo stores.
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  • Publix sold its Pix convenience store chain to France-owned Circle K convenience stores.
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  • Spartan Stores bought Nash Finch military commissary operations.
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  • Kroger acquired Harris Teeter Supermarkets for $2.44 billion.
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  • Tesco-owned Fresh & Easy sold 150 stores to Yucaipa Cos. and closed 50 other Fresh & Easy stores.
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  • Belle Foods filed Chapter 11 and sold 43 stores to Associated Wholesale Grocers, Homeland Stores, and Rouses Markets. Many of those stores will continue operating with their existing Belle Foods, Piggly Wiggly, Southern Family Markets and Food World brands, under their new ownership.

That's a grocery retailing-go-round that could make anyone dizzy. The grocery chains that are closing stores, filing Chapter 11, and selling off underperforming pieces of their chain will tell you it's because... >> continue reading >>

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