- Southeastern Grocers will open four new Winn-Dixie stores in Florida on Nov. 11, the company announced in a press release Monday.
- The Winn-Dixie Florida locations, in Boynton Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville and Lakewood Ranch, will have expanded assortments in their produce, deli, meat, seafood and bakery aisles. The stores will also offer a greater selection of gluten-free, organic and natural products.
- The Gainesville store was converted from a former Lucky’s Market, while the other three locations were formerly Earth Fare stores. Southeastern Grocers also has plans in the works for four additional Winn-Dixie stores to open in Florida by early next year.
Southeastern Grocers is rapidly building its presence in Florida, with its eight planned Winn-Dixie openings estimated to provide over 700 new employment opportunities. The stores set to begin serving customers Nov. 11 will open with low-key ribbon cuttings as a safety precaution because of the pandemic.
The new locations could help filling in gaps in organic and natural food offerings left with the closures of Lucky's Market and Earth Fare locations in the areas.
After a financial restructuring under Chapter 11 in spring 2018, Southeastern Grocers has rapidly evolved its Winn-Dixie stores to respond to consumers’ tastes, particularly in its natural and organic options. Over the past three years, the grocer has remodeled more than 40% of its store base, while unloading dozens of Bi-Lo and Harveys Supermarkets in an effort to bring down its overall store count and focus on its core products, including Winn-Dixie.
Since emerging from bankruptcy, Southeastern has indicated that its finances are in better shape. Last month, the company notified the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was preparing for an IPO.
By offloading its stores in the Carolinas, Southeastern has narrowed its focus down to Florida — a state with large and growing population centers, but where competition from the likes of Publix, Walmart and Aldi has stymied Winn-Dixie in the past.
Southeastern’s success in Florida will hinge on whether it can personalize its stores with a limited budget. With the opening of the Gainesville location, five Winn-Dixie stores will include a WD’s Taproom, in an expansion of the grocer’s "sip and shop" offering. According to Southeastern, each store is specially remodeled to reflect its local community and have smaller footprints than other Winn-Dixie stores, allowing the brand to scale down its format.