Food Lion has remodeled over 10% of its store base and hired nearly 2,300 workers via a $212.5 million investment in five Mid-Atlantic states.
The Ahold Delhaize USA supermarket chain said Wednesday that renovations have wrapped up or are nearing completion at 112 stores, including 52 in Maryland, 27 in Virginia, 19 in Delaware, 10 in West Virginia and three in Pennsylvania. Another store undergoing construction has yet to be announced.
New jobs created for the upgraded stores include 1,153 in Maryland, 540 in Virginia 398 in Delaware, 154 in West Virginia and 44 in Pennsylvania.
“Nourishing our neighbors in the towns and cities we serve is core to everything we do, and we’re excited to welcome customers to their fresh, new Food Lion," President Meg Ham said in a statement. "Neighbors, many who have shopped in their local Food Lion for decades, are now able to enjoy a new grocery shopping experience through the significant investments in our stores, associates and communities.”
Remodeled stores will feature expanded assortments across all departments, based on the communities served, including more local items in the “Local Goodness” section; a wider variety of craft beer and limited-reserve wines; and more natural, organic and gluten-free items, Food Lion reported.
On the fresh food side, customers will find a bigger selection of easy, affordable meals for families plus a broader mix of grab-and-go items and presliced deli meats and cheeses, which are sliced fresh daily and available for customers to pick up without having to wait in line, the retailer said. The upgraded stores also offer an “abundant selection” of fresh produce and meat, backed by Food Lion’s double-your-money-back guarantee, as well as a larger selection of Nature’s Promise beef, pork, poultry, milk, eggs, bottled water, cereal, coffee and other items. Nature’s Promise is Ahold Delhaize USA’s better-for-you brand, including natural, organic and “free from” products.
Updated stores, too, offer a smoother checkout process, new signage and groupings of like products to help shoppers find items faster, and additional safety equipment and protocols, Food Lion said. About 40% of the remodeled stores also feature the Food Lion To-Go online grocery pickup service, and many offer same-day delivery via Instacart, with orders arriving at customers’ doorsteps in as soon as an hour.
“From our expanded variety and product assortment, to a more efficient checkout experience, every change we’ve made will make it easier for our customers to find the quality products they have come to expect from Food Lion,” Ham added. “When coupled with our everyday low prices and weekly sales and promotions, customers will see that we have made it easier for them to nourish their families with everything they need on a budget.”
In support of the upgraded locations, Food Lion plans to offer random giveaways — ranging from reusable shopping bags to gift cards — at each store through the next week.
With the latest investment, Food Lion has remodeled over 90% of its retail network, which encompasses more than 1,000 stores in 10 Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states. Citing a study by Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI), the grocer said its “Wave 7” store upgrades in the Mid-Atlantic will generate $360 million in economic impact in the five states and boost state and local tax revenues by $40 million.
Besides the Mid-Atlantic initiative, Food Lion’s most recent remodel programs included a $40 million investment to upgrade 23 stores in the greater Charlottesville and Harrisonburg, Va., markets and a $158 million investment to renovate 92 stores in the greater Myrtle Beach, Florence, Columbia and Charleston, S.C., areas in July 2019.
Earlier this year, Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion unveiled a deal to acquire 62 Bi-Lo and Harveys Supermarket stores from Southeastern Grocers. The transaction — including 46 Bi-Lo and 16 Harveys stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia plus a Bi-Lo distribution center in Mauldin, S.C. — is slated to close in the first half of 2021. Also in 2020, Food Lion has opened new stores in Summerville and West Columbia, S.C., and in China Grove and Morganton, N.C.