After the announcement, vocal Harris Teeter customers turned to social media to express concern about changes to stores and the perceived loss of quality with the Kroger acquisition.
Tenser said this may be premature.
“I feel reasonably confident the last thing Kroger would do to a good operation is to try to drive it down to the level of a standard Kroger store,” he said. “This is a higher positioned company in terms of their retail operation. There are not a lot of examples of big retail companies with successful acquisitions and Kroger has been an exception.”
The acquisition also gives Kroger a stronger foothold in a vibrant North Carolina and mid-Atlantic market, Schlotman said, and there only a few markets where Kroger and Harris Teeter had overlapping market share, including Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Hampton Roads, Va. and Charlottesville, Va.
Schlotman said Kroger plans to continue growing the Harris Teeter brand.
“They have a great pipeline of store projects in the works,” he said. “We’re excited about what they have in these great mid-Atlantic and Southeastern markets. If we were to do anything, we’d add more capital and make it a little faster.”