From Morning News Beat….10-9-13
What’s in a name? We will soon find out when Bi-lo Holdings changes the banner names of recently acquired chains Harvey’s, Reid’s, and Sweetbay. Conventional wisdom tells us that managing many banners with various names and named programs is menacing, if not expensive.
With overlapping stores in the many of the same markets, this decision is the correct one. Now it is up to Bi-lo Holdings to use these conversions as an “excuse” to create some excitement around these events. Further and most importantly, it is also important for the Winn-Dixie and Bi-lo brands to begin to better define themselves vis-a-vis their formidable competition. We wait for that to happen.
Bi-Lo Holdings announced yesterday that when it closes on its acquisition of Sweetbay, Reids and Harveys stores from Delhaize, it intends to convert the Sweetbay stores to the Winn-Dixie banner and the Reids stores to the Bi-Lo name.The company said that it intends to keep the Harveys banner, though some of the stores using that banner could be changed to the Winn-Dixie or Bi-Lo name.According to the company, “The transitioning of Sweetbay and Reids stores to Winn-Dixie and BI-LO banners respectively is to reduce overlapping footprints. There is little overlap between BI-LO, Winn-Dixie and Harveys stores. Through this transaction, we will be able to provide our great products at a great value to a broader base of customers.”The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014. Bi-Lo said in May that it has a deal to acquire the three chains from Delhaize for $265 million.The Tampa Bay Times writes that “Sweetbay has had a prominent spot in the marketplace since 2004, when Tampas Kash n Karry changed its name to Sweetbay as part of plans to remodel stores, expand product selection and create a customer-friendly culture. The name comes from a type of magnolia tree.”But caught between customer service-oriented Publix and value-driven Walmart, Sweetbay still struggled to find its niche and gradually lost market share. In January, Sweetbay said it was closing 33 underperforming stores in Florida, including 22 in the Tampa Bay area.”