As part of a multiyear store upgrade program, Food Lion aims to remodel 92 supermarkets this year in the greater Myrtle Beach, Florence, Columbia and Charleston, S.C., areas.
Food Lion said that, along with remodels, the $158 million project includes price reductions, expanded product selection at each store and the hiring of almost 2,000 new associates to help improve the customer experience. The first upgraded stores are expected to debut this summer.
Remodeled stores also will carry a broader variety of products relevant to customers in each store and community, such as more local, natural, organic and gluten-free items, according to Food Lion. The Ahold Delhaize USA chain added that these stores will feature enhanced deli/bakery service and customer service, reflecting new customer-centric training for associates at all stores.
"Food Lion is proud to have been a part of the many towns and cities we serve throughout South Carolina for 43 years, and we are even more excited to bring exciting new offerings, services and a new look to these markets," President Meg Ham (pictured) said in a statement. "We look forward to making significant investments in our stores, our associates and our communities to offer a new grocery shopping experience. Our mission is 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. We look forward to reintroducing our renovated stores later this summer."
Each of the 92 stores will operate normal hours during the remodel process. Food Lion noted that these locations will offer fresh, new experiences that are easier to navigate and shop “so customers can get in, out and on their way quickly.”
For example, six of the South Carlolina stores — in Andrews, Columbia, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown and Ravenel — will house walk-in produce coolers designed to keep fruit and vegetables fresher for a longer period of time. Renovated supermarkets also will feature store-made hand-battered fried chicken in the deli bakery department, as well as more local products like beer and wine plus natural and organic selections.
When the remodel project finishes, Food Lion will have upgraded 80% of its approximately 1,030 stores across its 10-state operating area in the Southeast over the past four years.
“Across the brands, Food Lion had the strongest growth as we continued to rollout the Easy, Fresh and Affordable program, where we continue to see good results,” Ahold Delhaize Chief Financial Officer Jeff Carr said last week in a conference call on fiscal 2018 results. “We've now remodeled 70% of the Food Lion stores, and we completed Virginia, Norfolk and the greater Roanoke markets in 2018.”