Now that Southeastern Grocers successfully reorganized its finances in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, customers will see the supermarket operator ramp up its pace of store upgrades, CEO Anthony Hucker said Thursday.
“We’re now able to move with a much more powerful velocity,” Hucker said in an interview after the company unveiled a newly remodeled Winn-Dixie supermarket in the Brierwood neighborhood, at the intersection of Baymeadows and Old Kings roads.
Jacksonville-based Southeastern operates about 575 supermarkets in seven states under the Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Harveys and Fresco y Mas brands.
Hucker said the company plans to upgrade 100 stores this year.
Southeastern emerged from Chapter 11 three weeks ago after filing its prepackaged bankruptcy reorganization plan in March.
The restructuring allowed the company to reduce its debt and put itself in a better financial position, Hucker said.
“The customer won’t see anything,” he said. “This doesn’t reflect on anything we do on a day-to-day basis.”
However, customers should notice a difference when stores are upgraded.
Hucker said the company uses focus groups with customers to find out what they want in their local stores, and the upgrades attempt to address their needs.
“I always believe the customer is the boss,” he said.
One suggestion from customers in the Brierwood neighborhood led to the creation of a “Dollar Shop” in that store, a section with hundreds of low-priced and convenient items…