Kroger opens possible game changer in local grocery world

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The battle for your business rages on as Kroger fired the latest shot in the Richmond retail grocery wars.

On this opening day of the new Short Pump Kroger, plenty of anticipation, not to mention a full parking lot. But will the area's newest shopping destination, and Kroger's largest ever in Virginia, be enough to overcome its competition?

In what's already been a year for the history books, Kroger opened a possible game changer in the Richmond retail grocery world.

"We do what we do best, and that is listen to our customers, and put together a great grocery store," said store manager Alice Jones.

At 92,000 square feet, everything appears bigger, including the sections for produce and prepared foods. Even the wine shoppe has a tasting area.

"I've been everywhere from Whole Foods to Martin's and this place has everything that I could want," said shopper Kelly Yahiaoui.

Kroger managers say the plans have been in place since last year, and are not in response to newly renovated Food Lion and Martin's stores. One industry analyst says it's not uncommon to see an expanding array of products and services.

"Gen X and Gen Y are pretty diverse and open and looking for versatility and different shopping options, and Richmond has a full plate of those," said Jeff Metzger, publisher of Food World.

In fact, every year, Richmonders spend $3 billion on groceries. Far and away, the market leader is Food Lion with the most stores and $594 million in local sales over the past year. Ukrop's/Martin's is next with $432 million in local sales, followed by Walmart with $409 million in local sales. Kroger, currently, sits in fourth place with $353 million in local sales, but may be moving up.

"It's gonna be a very crowded field. It's gonna be very difficult to gain market share," Metzger said.

Analysts agree, with so many local dollars at stake, ultimately, the winner will be the shopper.

"Definitely a lot of competition. Makes for a good shopping experience," said shopper Greg Cook.

The new Kroger is open every day except Christmas. It replaces the other Short Pump Kroger located on West Broad Street, which closed Wednesday evening.

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