Winn-Dixie to Convert SaveRites

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Winn-Dixie Stores here said it would convert its six remaining SaveRite discount stores to the Winn-Dixie banner. The stores are operating profitably and doing fine, a chain spokesman told SN last week. The reason for the conversions has nothing to do with performance, the spokesman said, but rather with the chain's desire to have all stores operating with a consistent strategy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie Stores [4] here said it would convert its six remaining SaveRite discount stores to the Winn-Dixie banner.

The stores are operating profitably and “doing fine,” a chain spokesman told SN last week.

The reason for the conversions has nothing to do with performance, the spokesman said, but rather with the chain's desire to have all stores operating with a consistent strategy of tailoring each location to its neighborhood. Winn-Dixie plans to convert and rebanner the SaveRites by the fall, the spokesman explained.

“By aligning all 484 stores under one Winn-Dixie banner, we will be able to ensure a more consistent shopping experience for all of our guests, regardless of the type of neighborhood in which we operate,” said Peter Lynch, chairman, president and chief operating officer.

Of the six SaveRite stores, four are in Florida — including two in Jacksonville and one each on Orlando and Tampa — and two are in Mississippi, in Hattiesburg and Laurel. They operate in different demographic areas, serving customers at different income levels, the spokesman pointed out.

The six stores are the last of a group of price-impact stores that were rebannered beginning in 2000, when the chain introduced the SaveRite banner at 40 stores in the metropolitan Atlanta area — stores that featured only about 10,000 SKUs and lacked loyalty cards or other amenities available at Winn-Dixie banner stores.

Over the next few years the company converted 21 stores in Florida and Mississippi to the SaveRite name. However, as part of its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2006, it closed most of the SaveRites, and last fall it closed five more locations that were underperforming as part of a 30-store closure.

As the last six SaveRites reopen under the Winn-Dixie banner, they will increase SKU counts to between 20,000 and 30,000; offer the chain's Reward Card program; introduce meal solutions; offer the chain's fuelperks gas program (in Florida only); and enable customers to enroll in the chain's baby club and college savings program.

The SaveRites range in size from 30,000 to more than 60,000 square feet, the spokesman said — in line with the range in the rest of the chain, he noted.

Stores will remain open during the conversion process, the company said.