Will be interesting to see how this works. I’ve always heard HEB had almost no competition in SA but the article says it has only 52.4% of the market - I thought it was a lot more than that. Kroger has physical stores in Dallas, where the big warehouse distribution center is, but not in SA or Austin.
I hope we never get down to this little competition in the market.
Meanwhile, again, another article in the Express News notes HEB has started adding home decor to it store inventory. The first Home by HEB department opened in a New Braunfels HEB.
Kroger came into the PNW by buying the local/regional chain Fred Meyer.
Folks weren’t happy at the time but they stayed pretty much intact and didn’t become super Krogers.
Freddie’s was always merchandise+ groceries, long before
Wal*Mart and Target copied the same format.
Food 4 Less
Jay C Food Store
Pay-Less Super Markets
Smith’s Food and Drug
Kroger is my main shopping location, because it is the closest actually. But also its prices are much Better than the other area options, which are Randall’s x2. If I’m in an excursion mode, I will go to the big HEB at Bunker Hill, but since the pandemic that’s been few and far between visits. Many people in my neighborhood utilize their curbside pick up though. Kroger has the same thing and I use it when feeling lazy.
FreshDirect in the NYC metro area has been successful for decades.
Seemed like it was unique to the geography and transport here, but then the pandemic certainly got people in other regions on board with grocery delivery or pickup quite fast, so I’d say yes, delivery only can take hold once people get used to it for the weekly shop.
One can always supplement fruits and vegetables one is finicky about with a farmers market (or other) in person visit.
@bbqboy - Yep, Kroger came to town in the 50s, taking over a local chain, Henke & Pillot, that was probably about # 2 at the time. Didn’t change the name for about a decade but Kroger has been here for 70 years so I guess it’s gonna last. As the article mentions, Kroger had stores in SA before and is present in Dallas w/physical stores.
@bbqboy & @NotDoobieWah - biggest problem I’ve had with curbside is with the software or websites, most often sending me only one of a product that I know I ordered multiples of. Produce from WM neighborhood store has been very good to excellent, less satisfying from HEB. I don’t buy meat from WM and seldom from HEB. Other than those, which, yes, I’d prefer to pick my own and get something else if what they have isn’t acceptable, browsing online is a lot less tiring than walking through a store. And in most cases, I know which products I want. But you can always take a chance on something new, just like you can in the store.
But to each his own; I got tired of eating my own cooking about 25 years ago and started eating out a lot more, but still loved grocery shopping. As the years went on though, I got tired of grocery shopping but still had to do it. Online shopping brings more of the fun back than slogging through a store.
@Lambowner - I haven’t ordered from Kroger yet but have been thinking about it this week. The nearest store, on S. Post Oak, is always getting written up on NextDoor for crime in the parking lot or at the gas station so I’ll be going either to the one on S. Main or Buffalo Speedway. That Buffalo Speedway store is one of the nicest grocery stores in Houston, but Huuuuuuge.
Eta: always charged the right amount, re: quantities ordered. One time unloading a haul from HEB I realized I’d gotten 4 half gallons of Creamy Creations Intense Chocolate. I looked at the order online and there it was. I know, absotively and posilutely I DID NOT enter that 4!!! Got charged for all 4 too.
I like Kroger but the closest to us is in an upscale type town. Not sure if this the problem or what., If you go through the manned checkout it’s a race to the finish to see how fast they can check you out. Learned our lesson to go through self check and you would not believe how many times we’ve had to call the person in charge over to fix the price. Sometimes 4 days into a sale and still ringing up at the wrong price. $3 or $4 per item. My way of thinking is that they think people with more money than sense won’t pay attention.
Good article. Thanks for posting it. It’s not surprising usage of delivery would go down after the worst of Covid and with other costs going up. I’ve never used delivery, even for pizza, and don’t plan to try it until my mobility issues get a lot worse or I lose my license. As one person quoted suggested, pickup provides a good and welcome reason to get out of the house (without having to slog down the aisles, etc.). Sometimes it’s been the only time I got the car out of the garage for a couple of weeks.
Kroger is using a totally new methodology for customer delivery, and is applying it as well in areas where it has few/no physical stores. It is based on a fulfillment center concept developed by Ocado in the UK. These centers (called cfc’s) are totally divorced from normal warehouses of the type that serve regular stores. They are up to 350,000 sf, and fully automated. Little devices run on rails in a cellular grid and pick the items in an order from below. The orders are loaded into delivery trucks with freezer, refrigerated, and room temperature sections for customer delivery. The centers also serve spoke centers further away; customer orders go from the central cdc to a cross-dock “spoke” center where they are transferred from large semi’s to the delivery trucks. In the case of Texas, they have established a cdc in Dallas; San Antonio and Austin are spokes. An order for Austin, for example, will be picked in Dallas, sent with other orders to the Austin spoke, and transferred there to final delivery trucks, all in a few hours.
They have been using this concept as a way to leapfrog into markets with a dominant chain(s) by not building stores but by using the delivery concept to break into the market. Florida is a perfect example. Publix is so strong there is no way to compete with them by building conventional stores. With this concept they do an end run around them and gain entry into the market. They are also using the concept in areas where they do have a strong store network, such as Ohio and Georgia.
We spend a week in Florida during the summer. We do one big order from Publix on the first day and they deliver to our rental (6-8 people). But we still run in for the odd forgotten item a couple of times during the week. The store is awesome, and always busy.
Publix has many fine qualities, but being an economical place to shop isn’t among them. Their prices start high and go up from there. I’m a bargain hunter (OK cheapskate) so when I’m in Florida Aldi is my first stop; I check out Winn-Dixie and only go to Publix in desperation. Walmart is further away but surprisingly has a few reliably good things, such as artichokes that are 3x as good as anybody else’s (cheaper too), and they usually carry some type of cultured butter which is sketchy at best elsewhere. Oddly they also usually have wagyu beef which makes for a nice change of pace.