by Terrie Ellerbee/associate editor
The proliferation of Walmart Neighborhood Market stores in and around Omaha has begun.
On March 1, Walmart opened the first two of the grocery-centered Neighborhood Market stores, one at 13015 Birch Dr. in Omaha and the other at 2109 Towne Center Dr. in Bellevue near Offutt Air Force Base. Over the next 12 months, four more will open in the Omaha area, as will a seventh, if approved, where a former Target store is to be razed on Saddle Creek Road, the World-Herald reports.
This is not news to grocery retailers and wholesalers serving communities in the Omaha area. Nash Finch Co. executives knew it before making two significant acquisitions last year.
Nash Finch bought 12 Bag ‘N Save supermarkets in Omaha and York and purchased 18 No Frills supermarkets, including 14 in Nebraska. Twelve are in Omaha. It was a $78.3 million investment for the Minnesota-based company.
During Nash Finch’s fourth earnings call on Feb. 28, Alec Covington, CEO, president and director, reminded stakeholders: “We were fully aware of Walmart’s intention to expand into the Omaha market with their Neighborhood stores.”
He said Nash Finch ran market surveys before the acquisition “to assure that we would understand the impact of those entrants and we acquired those businesses based upon getting a profit return after Walmart would open those stores. We bought them with a full understanding and having modeled the impact of those openings.”
The company does expect negative comparable stores sales from some of those locations, Covington said.
“You can’t have five or six Walmart Neighborhood stores come into a market and not have negative comps,” he said. “But we know that. We’d baked that into our model. And just because we’ll have negative comps in Omaha, it’s not an indicator that we’re not going to achieve an acceptable rate of return on our investments, because those things were factored in and we’re looking forward to continue working that market and continue development in that market.”
Covington said the company will focus on Omaha with several remodels and its plans to deal with new competition.
Walmart also plans to open a 178,000-s.f. Supercenter at 50th Street and Ames Avenue in Omaha. Construction is to begin in 2013 and the store should open in spring 2014.
In Lincoln, it is safe to say that a pause in retail construction that began in 2009 has ended, reports the Lincoln Journal Star. A new Walmart Supercenter is under construction at 27th Street and Grainger Parkway that will open later this year.
A 30,000-s.f. Whole Foods Market store will open, possibly by the end of the year, at 61st and O streets. The Lincoln Whole Foods Market announcement made news because it was made independent of other stores in development instead of alongside them in the company’s quarterly earnings reports. The store is to be located in a new development that also will house new headquarters for Lincoln Public Schools.
Hy-Vee opened a convenience store/gas station last summer in Plattsmouth, which is just east of Lincoln. Work began last fall on a Hy-Vee supermarket to go with it. The 45,000-s.f. store will anchor Plattsmouth Plaza next to U.S. Highway 75 at Oak Hill Road. It is slated to open in November.
In Kearney, Hy-Vee is planning an 87,617-s.f. store on the west side of Second Avenue between 52nd and 56th streets. No ground breaking has been set, but the store is expected to open in 2014.
B&R Stores adds fifth Super Saver in Lincoln
The Super Saver store at Lincoln’s Fallbrook MarketPlace opened Feb. 6. The new store is located near the intersection of Nebraska Highway 34 and Fallbrook Boulevard. With the opening, parent company B&R Stores Inc. of Lincoln now operates five Super Saver locations in the city.
B&R Stores President Pat Raybould said the Super Saver at Fallbrook MarketPlace serves a large and growing area of Lincoln as well as nearby communities.
“We’re glad to offer our new neighbors a supermarket of their own,” Raybould says. “Our newest store combines our longtime commitment to low prices and high quality with a fresh approach to store design and energy efficiency.”
The 61,000-s.f. store includes an on-site bakery, floral department, full-service delicatessen, expanded spirits department and a Wall of Values. It also is the first Super Saver in Lincoln to have a fuel center, and shoppers can earn discounts on gas. The store also features a drive-up pharmacy window and an in-store bank.
As with all Super Saver stores, the Fallbrook MarketPlace store cuts its beef fresh in the store daily. Offerings include Omaha Natural Angus Beef, which comes from grain-fed cattle raised in Nebraska and Iowa.
Columbus Super Saver work complete
The Columbus Super Saver celebrated the completion of a major renovation project with prizes and special promotions. It is located at 3318 23rd St.
Starting Feb. 5, shoppers could enter to win prizes such as an iPad, Kindle Fire, iPod Touch, Super Saver gift cards and a variety of food items. The prize giveaways were to continue for several weeks.
The newly remodeled store features an expanded produce area, a bigger Wall of Values for discount items and a larger wine and spirits section featuring a greater variety of products, a news release says. The renovation project included changes to the look of the store and installation of more energy efficient refrigerated and frozen food cases.
Employee-owned B&R Stores also operates Russ’s Market, Save Best Foods and Grand Central Apple Market stores. Founded in 1964 by Russ Raybould, B&R Stores has locations in seven cities across Nebraska and Iowa.
Affiliated Foods Midwest honored
The Philanthropy Council of Northeast Nebraska named Norfolk-based Affiliated Foods Midwest Business Philanthropist of the Year. Affiliated Foods Midwest is a generous member of the Nebraska business community financially as well as by encouraging its employees to give of their time, talent and treasure, the council said. Many of its employees raise funds and volunteer hours to support local and national non-profit organizations.
In other Affiliated Midwest news, Martin Arter, president and CEO, is a newly appointed wholesaler on the board of directors for the National Grocers Association.