Worst nightmare or good business?

07/12/2013 10:21:00 AM
Pamela Riemenschneider

Pamela Riemenschneider, Aisle WanderingPamela Riemenschneider, Aisle WanderingHold your horses, angry Harris Teeter Facebookers.

Here’s the deal about Kroger coming to town: The last thing they’d want to do is strip what you love about Harris Teeter and take it downscale.

That’s what went through my head as I read comment after angry comment from Harris Teeter fanatics on their Facebook page following the announcement that Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. agreed to buy the Matthews, N.C.-based chain.

Kroger is not a nameless, faceless acquisition entity.

This was probably the best outcome for Harris Teeter. Did fans want their beloved chain to be gobbled up by an investment firm?

When I think of Kroger banners I’ve visited across the U.S., I think of the differences I encounter. A Fred Meyer is not a Ralphs and neither of those is a King Soopers.

Contrast that to Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway’s banners, for example.

A Safeway in Oakland, Calif., looks exactly the same — from the orchard bins to the faux wood floors — as a Randalls in Cedar Park, Texas, a Von’s in Newport Beach, Calif., or a Dominick’s in Chicago.

They are disappointingly similar. Sometimes, when I go visit a new town to look at retailers and I’m short on time, I skip Safeway because I know what I’m going to get.

Please, someone tell me I’m wrong and I’ll happily change my tune.

Many in the angry Facebook mob were concerned about losing their beloved double coupon program, and they may have a point. Kroger — and many other retailers nationwide — has been slowly dropping the program over the past few years.

These programs, while enormously popular with a select number of consumers, typically aren’t used by the majority.

But one shopper told her local newspaper it was her “worst nightmare come true.”

Those are some strong words.

We’ll see what happens once the deal is finalized.

pamelar@thepacker.com

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Jim    
July, 15, 2013 at 03:27 AM

I find Kroger's different banners to be just as similar to each other as Safeway's. Kroger has certain stores that are unique (Fred Meyer is much larger than a normal supermarket, for example) but if you compare a standard size Ralphs to a standard size King Sooper's, for example, they look pretty much the same. The King Sooper's might have some "Colorado Proud" signage or something, but fundamentally they are the same.

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