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What lies ahead for grocery?

We all move towards the holidays. (And the Kroger and Albertsons merger continues to move forward too…)

Kroger and Albertsons. Two names we’ve all had in our mouths for months now. It’s a potentially massive deal and if it goes through, would create a truly national operator with 4,996 stores, 66 distribution centers, 52 manufacturing plants and 2,015 fuel centers in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Whew. 

Questions remain. Store divestitures, for instance. Kroger and Albertsons have estimated that number at upwards of 375; however, analysts we spoke with put it closer to 500. 

Another question: does more industry consolidation loom ahead if the merger goes through? With a wider swath of territory from coast to coast, the combined company would present a much bigger competitive challenge, even to larger operators. 

As one analyst notes: Smaller grocery chains and independents don’t necessarily have the scale to compete with the larger ones — “especially in e-commerce, which is now more important than ever in food retail. It’s really hard to make online grocery profitable. Even the larger companies are struggling to make that profitable.”

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Chloe Riley, executive editor of Supermarket News

Outside of the merger, we’re also moving into the holidays. I live just outside Chicago, where the cold air sure knows how to blow, and so for me, this time of year means a slowing down, cozying up. And also, a time for connection — a state of being that we’ve all been sorely missing over the last two years. 

It’s also a time of year that gets me thinking about habits. What are my own? Are they good? Bad? How can I be a better version of myself going into the new year? 

My parents buy me an advent calendar every year for the holidays, and so the daily opening of a little paper door gets built into my routine. I like to listen to classical music in the mornings, and during the holidays, especially so. Gregorian chant, English carols: music from long ago that makes me feel connected to a spirit of joy and hope that I think runs through us all.  

What are your habits? Holiday and otherwise. And what about your customers? How well do you know their habits? Shoot me an email at [email protected].

Here at SN, we’ll be taking a little downtime to be with our families and celebrate the season. You won’t see our daily newsletter from December 26-Jan. 2, but there are still plenty of ways to keep in touch. Follow us on LinkedIn where we post a weekly industry poll and join in that conversation, and Follow us on Instagram for news and video updates, and also please just reach out and say hi to me either on Linkedin or at my email above. I’d love to hear from you. 

And from all of us here at Supermarket News — Have a very happy, healthy holiday.  

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