Grocers Ready to Fight Over Ukrop’s Shoppers
Ahold may have bought the Ukrop’s grocery chain but there
is no guarantee that the shoppers who were loyal shoppers at the local institution
will be coming around to shop in the renamed Martin’s Food Market locations.
a Richmond Times-Dispatch report points out, Food Lion, Kroger,
Wal-Mart and others will all be looking to slice off former Ukrop’s shoppers
David Urban, a professor of marketing and executive associate
dean at Virginia Commonwealth University, said he expected most Ukrop’s shoppers
to give Martin’s an opportunity to keep their business. "You can certainly
expect other grocery stores to try and make new pitches for the Ukrop’s customer
To help hold onto former Ukrop’s shoppers, Martin’s is cutting prices
by five percent below previous levels.
"Loyalty in the food business is at an all-time low, and customers are
keenly aware of cross-shopping opportunities," Jeffrey Metzger, publisher
World, told the paper. "Customers are up for grabs every day."
is looking to retain many of the practices that make Ukrop’s a shopping destination
while cutting prices five percent below the former owner’s.
Stores in the
market are looking to gain an advantage by upgrading the customer experience
in stores. Food Lion and Kroger have either remodeled or are in the process
of making over stores.
Kroger has taken a page from the Ukrop’s playbook and
started taking groceries out to customers’ cars. The chain is also adding gas
stations at some locations.
"We feel like this is an opportunity," Carl York, a spokesperson
for Kroger, told the Times-Dispatch. "The Richmond market is
very important to us, and we’ve invested quite a bit. We feel like we’re well-positioned."
Lion, for its part, has aggressively promoted a large-scale price reduction
at its stores.
J.J. Fleeman, vice president for Food Lion’s Northeastern markets,
want to focus on customer service and need to make sure we serve our shoppers
Discussion Questions: Do you expect Martin’s to gain,
maintain or lose shoppers from the levels previously registered under Ukrop’s?
What must Martin’s do to build the business from where it had been? What must
others do to pull business away from Martin’s?