- Southeastern Grocers has announced plans to convert eight newly acquired grocery stores to Winn-Dixie locations in Florida by year's end, according to a company press release.
- The grocer has finalized the purchase of four Lucky’s Market locations and four Earth Fare locations across the state in cities including Fort Myers, Gainesville and Jacksonville.
- Each store will be remodeled to reflect its local community and will include the fresh assortment and pricing characteristic of Winn-Dixie. The company expects to hold grand openings for all the stores later this year.
The recent momentum signifies a turnaround for Winn-Dixie, which was routinely shutting down stores across the southeast as recently as last February following bankruptcy. This also follows several years where Southeastern Grocers converted several of its Florida stores to its discount Harveys Supermarket banner and Hispanic-focused Fresco Y Mas.
Since then, Southeastern Grocers has tried to revive the floundering banner and is now trying to fill a void left in the community by other failed grocery chains. The company stepped in to buy five stores from the faltering Lucky’s banner in February, which closed 32 of its 39 stores. In April, Earth Fare completed the sale of four leases to the parent company of Winn-Dixie after announcing it would shutter a few months earlier.
Both with smaller footprints, the former Lucky’s and Earth Fare locations could give Winn-Dixie the ability to scale down its format to be in line with the growing trend and compete with grocers in the area like Publix's Greenwise. The Earth Fare stores range in size from 21,000 to 38,000 square feet, while the average Lucky’s Market spanned about 30,000 square feet.
The Florida expansion follows another Winn-Dixie store opening that took place in February in the Jacksonville metro area in a community that had recently lost a Publix and was an impending food desert, the company said.
Currently, Southeastern Grocers operates about 750 stores in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana under Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Fresco Y Mas and Harveys Supermarket. Winn-Dixie accounts for around 500 of those stores. This could be why the parent company has invested so much into remodeling its Winn-Dixie stores over the past few years and reviving the chain's image after it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in spring 2018.