Reinventing Kash ‘n Karry

Jul 08, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The changes taking place at Kash n’ Karry are more than giving a new name to its stores (Sweetbay Supermarket), say those inside the company.

In the past, the West Florida chain owned by Delhaize, tried numerous cost-cutting schemes to deal with the emergence of Wal-Mart and other grocers in one of the most highly
competitive markets in the nation.

The end result, however, was a chain that was losing ground and searching for a sense of identity.

That’s where the company’s current president and chief operating officer, Shelley Broader, comes in.

According to a St. Petersburg Times report, Ms. Broader convinced Delhaize, “The old Kash n’ Karry was so irretrievably worn out that it needed a complete rethinking.”

Ms. Broader got the top job at Kash ‘n Karry in 2003 and put together a team to rethink “the old Kash n’ Karry.” Since then the grocer has closed stores, pulled out of the Orlando
market and started on an aggressive rebuilding plan.

The chain will open its new Sweetbay Supermarket stores later this year with 14 stores in Fort Myers/Naples. Eventually, barring consumer rejection of the new name and format,
all of the retail’s stores will be converted to Sweetbay.

Moderator’s Comment: What will the new Sweetbay Supermarket need to do to differentiate itself from competitors including
Wal-Mart and Publix in Florida? Will a new identity mean Sweetbay will need to go after an entirely different group of consumers than those currently shopping at Kash ‘n Karry?

Mark Husson, a supermarket industry analyst for Merrill Lynch, didn’t sound too positive on Sweetbay as quoted by the St. Petersburg Times. “These
days everybody in the supermarket industry is trying to find a way to be different from Wal-Mart,” he said. “In this case, however, they may be two years too late.”

George Anderson – Moderator

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