GEORGIA ON THEIR MINDS

ATLANTA -- The major players here in terms of overall market share are Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. with 140 stores in its Atlanta Kroger Marketing Area; Publix, with 46 stores in the area; and Winn-Dixie Stores, Jacksonville, Fla., with about 70 stores here.ago with two new generation stores. It expects to add at least five more soon, with three scheduled to open by this time next year.Local Harry's

ATLANTA -- The major players here in terms of overall market share are Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. with 140 stores in its Atlanta Kroger Marketing Area; Publix, with 46 stores in the area; and Winn-Dixie Stores, Jacksonville, Fla., with about 70 stores here.

ago with two new generation stores. It expects to add at least five more soon, with three scheduled to open by this time next year.

Local Harry's Farmers Markets, with three units and its offshoot Harry's in a Hurry, is locally renowned for fresh prepared foods. Harry's in a Hurry is a small format dedicated to prepared foods, hot and chilled, both service and self-service. It's specifically designed to enable meal-seeking customers to get in and out quickly.

Another relative newcomer to the market here, Birmingham, Ala.-based Bruno's, with more than 200 units in the South, is revving up its prepared foods' image in this market.

Less than a year ago, it opened its 15th store here, a prototype with new emphasis on prepared foods, local sources told SN.

Cub Foods' Georgia division, based in Lithia Springs, Ga., with 13 stores in the Atlanta market area, also prides itself on foods prepared in-store.

In terms of total market share, local sources agreed that the top three chains are Kroger, Publix and Winn-Dixie, in that order; with A&P and Cub Foods running almost neck and neck for fourth place.

Kroger holds almost a third of the market share. Publix and Winn-Dixie hold percentages that are in the teens, and A&P and Cub each hold 5% to 10% of the market, according to local sources.

It is more of a toss-up, apparently, as to who does the best job with prepared foods in the delis, most of the sources said. Harris Teeter, Publix, Kroger, Bruno's and Harry's in a Hurry get bunched closely together at the top of the list for deli and prepared foods, according to the sources.

But at least one source placed Harry's in a Hurry above the others. "If I, as a consumer, were looking to pick up a fresh meal for one or two people and all the stores were side by side so location wasn't a consideration, I'd buy it at Harry's in a Hurry, because of the convenience, the quality and the variety available," she said.

Located in the affluent Buckhead section of north Atlanta, Harry's in a Hurry offers probably the largest selection of fresh-made entrees, sides and meals, judging from visits to stores throughout the market here in June.

More than 20 feet of refrigerated cases display packaged meals and meal components. A Boston Market-like counter also offers hot entrees and vegetables, and chilled entrees and sides and desserts can be purchased by the pound at a self-service, salad-bar type counter.

One local source said that he would put Publix and Kroger at the top of the "best in deli" list. "But Bruno's is coming right up there with their new prototype store at Sandy Springs," he said. All of those are putting some kind of emphasis on meals, even if it's just use of signs, he said.