RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - For the second year in a row, Food Lion is the top dog in the Richmond grocery market, according to the industry publication Food World. The report also shows Ukrop's lost ground in its final year before becoming Martin's.
Food Lion's market share dipped slightly, from 19.31% to 19.29%, but its lead over second place Ukrop's widened.
"We have a strategy that we feel very confident in- convenience, re-modeling of our existing stores, as well as continuing to deliver excellent prices for our customers," said Frankie Marshburn, director of operations for Food Lion's Richmond-area stores.
Marshburn says the tough economy has played a role in its continued success.
"Given the economy, and what the customer is saying, they need low prices and we are delivering on that need," Marshburn said.
The rest of the top four is a mixed bag. Ukrop's held on to second, at 14.02%, but that was 3.5% lower than last year. Number three Walmart (13.27%) and number four Kroger (11.45%) both saw their shares grow. Martin's now inherits Ukrop's slipping market share.
"Martin's is not going to sit by and let Food Lion continue to capture additional market share," said David Urban with VCU's School of Business.
Urban says Martin's will have to win back customers who may have been leaving Ukrop's.
"The one thing they have really pushed hard is the idea that they are an outstanding service organization, like Ukrop's, but they have lower prices than Ukrop's did," said Urban.
Kroger is making a push, too. The chain is in the middle of an $81-million effort to renovate and build new stores around Richmond. Urban says the escalating competition will benefit shoppers.
"The good news is that means lower prices for the consumer, and more options," he said.
Urban says the growing presence of specialty grocers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's further fractures the market and adds even more choices.