Food Lion said late Monday it would expand its ongoing Easy Fresh and Affordable initiative to 71 stores in the Richmond, Va., market.
Under the initiative, store renovations, service initiatives, assortment changes and pricing investments averaging about $1.5 million per store are designed to increase basket sizes and store trips.
Food Lion kicked off the effort in 2014 in the Wilmington and Greenville, N.C., markets. Earlier this year it said 93 stores in Greensboro, N.C., would undergo similar renovations and would be complete by August. Officials say the initiative is driving better sales results, including an average 10% weekly sales growth in Wilmington, 3% in Greenville and 8% in Raleigh.
“Food Lion is proud to have been a part of the greater Richmond community since 1984, and we are excited to bring our newest format to this market," Food Lion President Meg Ham said in a statement. "We look forward to making significant investments in our stores, our customers, our associates and our communities to offer a new grocery shopping experience. We want to ensure our customers can easily find fresh, quality products to nourish their families at affordable prices every day, delivered with caring, friendly service every time they shop."
The changes under the Easy Fresh and Affordable initiative expand variety in areas like fresh food, healthy snacks and local selections; improve service including new checkout procedures and equipment; and offer lower everyday prices. The changes are intended to boost both basket size and store trips
Food Lion is the second largest grocer in the Richmond metropolitan area with a 16.2% market share, according to the 2017 Metro Market Studies guide, published earlier this month. According to Metro Market, Walmart is the area leader with a 22.6% share and Kroger is third at 14%.
Ahold’s Martin’s chain is No. 4 but sliding, the guide noted. It sold 10 stores last year to Publix, which has closed them for renovation with plans to reopen them under its banner on a rolling basis. Martin’s is being divested as a condition of Ahold’s merger with Delhaize, which operated Food Lion. Richmond is also in the sights of new market entrant Lidl, and has seen four Wegmans markets open in recent years.