- In response to customer demand for a new and improved shopping experience, Southeastern Grocers has reopened three newly remodeled Winn-Dixie stores in Louisiana. A ribbon-cutting and grand opening celebration was held last weekend.
- Customers who shop at the new stores will see a range of improvements and new features, from updated signage to expanded grocery aisles and product assortments. These locations will feature more farm-fresh and organic produce, freshly-prepared and ready-made items, a wing bar, expanded meat and seafood offerings, freshly baked bread and more natural, organic products.
- "Winn-Dixie is proud to continue our strong commitment, of more than sixty years, to Louisiana communities with our three newly remodeled Covington and Mandeville stores, offering exceptional service and the freshest products at the right price. We take pride in the renewal of our stores, but we are also honored to engage in solid community partnerships, which help to make St. Tammany Parish, and the region, stronger," said Anthony Hucker, president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers.
These updated stores are the latest of eight Winn-Dixie remodels that Southeastern Grocers has completed in Louisiana since 2017, and the company says that each store remodel and product offerings will be customized to reflect local communities based on local shopper data. Most store remodels will also feature expanded produce, wine and liquor departments and organic product offerings.
Shoppers at the new Winn-Dixie stores will be pleased with some of the new options, including grab-and-go barbecue, a hot bar, an on-site butcher and a new brand of products under the Southeast Grocers Naturally Better brand, which will include gluten-free, organic and natural options. Another recent Winn-Dixie model in St. Johns, Florida, includes artisan pizza made to order and a sub sandwich station.
Winn-Dixie is not the only brand under the Southeastern Grocer banner to get a remodel. The company embarked on a serious plan to revamp its stores and shopper experience after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which forced the company to close 94 stores earlier this year. About 100 stores per year are in line for a remodel over the next few years. In some cases, underperforming Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo locations have been converted to Harveys or Fresco y Mas stores, which perform better in certain markets.
Other retailers have recently taken on remodeling projects to remain competitive with specialty grocers and evolving consumer demands. Food Lion just debuted 105 remodeled stores in the Norfolk, Virginia, region. The company's remodel is similar to Winn-Dixie's, offering more local and natural products, grab-and-go options, premium coffee and expanded delis. Aldi is also overhauling every single store in the U.S., primarily to improve its offering of fresh food selection and freshly prepared, on-the-go items.
In each of these cases, the same buzzwords come up: fresh, local, natural and convenient. This is what shoppers are demanding, and grocers plan to deliver.
After bankruptcy and in light of its struggle to stay relevant amid the latest trends, store remodels and conversions are central to Southeastern Grocer's strategy. The company needs to drive people to its stores, and responding to shopper data and demands through new store concepts and remodels is the right move. It will take time to see if this can lift the company out of its troubles, but these changes are promising.