Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kroger to Buy Harris Teeter

Posted By on Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM

...and counting.
  • ...and counting.
If you've not heard by now, Kroger has announced plans to purchase Harris Teeter supermarkets. And while Kroger's leadership has indicated that Harris Teeter will continue to be led by current members of the Harris Teeter managment team as a subsidiary and that there are no plans to close stores, the future for Nashville Harris Teeter locations looks grim (to me). As William Williams reported in the Nashville Post, Nashville is one of the few markets where there are both Kroger and Harris Teeter locations. In Belle Meade and Brentwood, Kroger and Harris Teeter stores are within walking distance of each other. Additionally, the five HT locations in the metro area are the only locations in all of Tennessee, and there have long been rumors of Harris Teeter's possible demise due to the cost of ogistics to supply these stores.

But sales at all locations have apparently been good enough to keep them open, and their customer base is fiercely loyal. The news of the planned purchase (awaiting SEC approval) was met with less than positive response in the Twitterverse. The aesthetics, product selection and quality are all very different between the two brands. And Harris Teeter shoppers are unlikely to shop at Kroger and will certainly be keeping a close eye on the quality and selection to which they've become accustomed.

Me? Eh, I'm a Publix shopper. I do, on occasion shop at Harris Teeter when I'm interested in a different shopping experience (it really is a lovely store) or looking for something I can't find at Publix. I'm not anti-Kroger, though. However, the store could definitely stand an Extreme Grocery Makeover. Even after two sets of renovations at the Belle Meade location in recent years, it still feels dingy and cramped. Attempts to make it more upscale seemed to fall flat. So I tend to go to another Kroger instead.

And I do shop at Kroger. There are just certain items that are significantly cheaper there (Dill Pickle Lay's potato chips, for example: $4.29 at Publix; $2.99 at Kroger), and there are some private-label items I prefer as well. The Kroger brand fajita seasoning is the secret to my fajitas and bean burritos, and the Kroger brand of gummy snacks (I prefer the dinosaurs to the sharks) are gelatin-free, unlike name-brand fruit snacks.

See? Kroger's not so bad. Kroger shoppers have, for years, even been nicknaming their Krogers. Though the nicknames I've heard for the East Nashville Kroger aren't very kind.

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