When it comes to Haggen, SN’s readers aren’t afraid to express their opinions — at least in our anonymous quick polls that readers can take online.
Case in point: In our most recent poll — Will Haggen’s conversion of 146 Albertsons-Safeway stores ultimately prove successful? — readers question whether Haggen will make it in Southern California, where newcomers have often labored (who can forget Tesco?). The numbers:
• 29% — Yes in the Northwest but Haggen will struggle in Southern California.
• 27% — No, failure in Southern California will torpedo the entire acquisition.
One reader put it this way: “Haggens is just a facelift to Albertsons and Von's stores. They may do well in Upper socio-economic areas, but in most of Southern California they will fail miserably.” Ouch. (Note that this is that reader’s opinion and not this writer’s or SN’s!)
However, Bill Shaner would beg to differ. In an interview with SN this week, the CEO of Haggen’s Pacific Southwest stores reported good customer response to store openings “since day one.” He said Haggen would succeed in Southern California “because of the locations we have — they’re great locations — and the people we have in the stores.”
The rest of the polling went like this:
• 23% — Too close to call — it could go either way.
A few readers eschewed all that doom and gloom:
• 13% — Yes, Haggen will pass with flying colors all up and down the West Coast.
• 8% — Yes, but success will require additional scale/acquisitions.
We’re not sure if this is even on topic, but another reader chimed in: “I guess it could be a good place to get my organic chorizo.” Righto.
Continuing on the Haggen theme, one of the more popular recent polls posed this question: Which of these companies has the greatest challenge to overcome?
Yes, Haggen topped the vote, but there was plenty of angst to go around:
• 32% — Haggen, an 18-unit operator that now must absorb 146 Albertsons-Safeway stores.
On reader explained, “They have over extended themselves by acquiring these stores in a totally different environment/area/market. Add to the fact that Safeway has had market share issues for many many years along with Albertsons who has failed to see any real noticeable growth makes it the greatest challenge for Haggen to overcome.”
• 22% — Albertsons-Safeway, which is integrating two major chains after the mega-merger.
“Philosophies of these two show quite a contrast. Blending will be an ongoing process, not a quick meld.”
• 21% — Bi-Lo Holdings, which is counting on a new CEO to fix its operational machinery.
“Bi-Lo is having trouble with their Winn-Dixie and Sweet Bay acquisitions and will need to sell off or close some to remain remotely profitable.”
• 14% — Walmart, which is struggling with sales growth, fresh food merchandising and more.
No comment. (No kidding!)
• 11% — Target, which is still regrouping after the data breach and an abrupt Canadian exit.
“Data breach is compounded by trying to get more food customers who are more frequent visitors. Becoming a ‘grocery store’ when you have always been know as a non-food store, is a bigger challenge.”
Well, no one ever said our industry lacks for challenges — or opportunities, for that matter. Be sure to check out these and other polls at supermarketnews.com/polls — and don’t forget to cast your votes. Consider it practice for the big one in 2016.
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