- Weis Markets CEO Jonathan Weis announced a plan to invest $109 million in store growth in 2019, according to a press release emailed to Grocery Dive. The announcement was made during the retailer's annual shareholder meeting in Sunbury, Pennsylvania last week.
- The investment will be used to open a new store in Bedminster, Pennsylvania, and remodel 14 stores and six fuel stations. Weis said money will also go to improving supply chain logistics and adding technology upgrades across its stores.
- Company sales hit a record $3.5 billion in 2018, and comparable store sales have increased 18 of the last 19 quarters, Weis said, due in part to technology investments and targeted holiday promotions through its customer loyalty program. The company's e-commerce efforts also helped boost the banner's online sales by 33.2%.
Business is looking bright for East Coast grocery chain Weis Markets, which operates 200 stores in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and West Virginia. Technology appears to be a major driver of its success. Its e-commerce expansion is particularly notable, with Weis 2 Go Curbside Pick-Up service now available in 125 stores, while 174 stores offer home delivery via Shipt, Weis said.
"Online ordering is a growing segment of our business that we expect to grow exponentially in the coming years," Weis said.
Regional grocers have adapted well to the e-commerce rush, responding with strong offerings to drive customer loyalty and remain competitive against Amazon, Walmart and other large grocery retailers. Wegmans began offering grocery delivery through Instacart in 2017 and recently expanded its curbside pickup offering. H-E-B recently converted an underperforming store to an e-commerce fulfillment center, strengthening its already robust e-commerce offering. Regional retailers including Piggly Wiggly and Harps Foods have embraced Instacart for its e-commerce capabilities.
Weis Markets began expanding e-commerce last year as part of a similar $101 million growth initiative that included two new stores, 20 remodels, four pharmacies and one fuel center. Its e-commerce endeavors have been well-received based on the rapid expansion from trialing delivery in 2018 to now offering it in nearly every store, and growing click-and-collect from 79 stores to 125 today. This also explains the company’s decision to make further investments in supply chain logistics and technology.
In addition to growing its e-commerce, Weis also recently slashed prices across the board on 7,000 products, a move it announced in January as part of a new Low, Low Price program. The effort is intended to help Weis compete with discount competitors like Aldi, Save-A-Lot and Lidl. Last year, Weis also made notable updates to its Preferred Shopper loyalty program, including a special senior discount and more rewards on Weis brand products.