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Many of you woke this morning to shocking news, Kroger announced this morning that they are buying Harris Teeter. We’ve known that Harris Teeter was for sale, but honestly this was not the buyer I hoped for. According to many news articles the plan is to run Harris Teeter as a Kroger Affiliate but still under the Harris Teeter brand name.
What does this mean?
Kroger has many affiliate stores, over 23 just on a quick count. While they are all run under the original store name, they all are basically tiny little Kroger chains. Their websites are all alike, their ads run the same deals and their coupon policies are the same.
For couponers if the trend follows, as their would be no reason for them to treat Harris Teeter any different from any other affiliate, this is not good news. Kroger in the Mid-Atlantic region does not double coupons, they don’t run B2G3 sales, they would never run a Super Double or Triples sale… you get the picture.
As we have watched the same type of merger take place with Bi-Lo, Winn Dixie, Harveys and Sweetbay this is becoming common. The stores merge all saying that things will remain the same, but slowly it is more economical for the stores to align together. So give it a few months and I won’t be surprised if the Harris Teeter ad isn’t a mirror image of the Kroger ad for the same areas.
A Light at the End of the Tunnel??
There is one ray of hope that stands out for North Carolina shoppers. Publix grocery stores just opened a Charlotte office. There are only a handful of store in the area right now, but that will change. In 1991 Publix opened an Atlanta office and they now have over 170 stores in that region. In 2010 they were actually declared the winner of the grocery wars in the Atlanta area having taken over Kroger for the #1 spot. In speaking with a recent Publix manager (to remain un-named) he said “lI wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t 100 new stores in NC within the next 5-7 years”. I know that’s a long time to wait, but at least it’s better than having no hope!
What are your thoughts on all this?