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Aldi To Begin Winn-Dixie, Harveys Assimilation Process

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Jacksonville, Florida

Last updated on July 9th, 2024 at 12:02 pm

North Florida’s biggest retail grocery news over the past year arguably came out of Jacksonville. Following a deal announced in August 2023 and completed in early March this year, Southeastern Grocers’ Winn-Dixie brand, along with sister banner Harveys Supermarkets, now are owned by Aldi, the value-focused retailer headquartered in Batavia, Illinois.

Aldi said the deal underscores its commitment to the Southeast. The 400 Winn-Dixie and Harveys locations – in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi – represent half the total of 800 stores Aldi plans to add nationwide by the end of 2028 through a combination of new stores and store conversions. More than $9 billion will be invested over those five years.

According to Aldi CEO Jason Hart, “With the acquisition of Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarkets, Aldi will serve even more communities in the Southeast, bringing us closer to our customers in a region where we’ve already experienced significant demand for affordable, quality groceries.”

Aldi said the store conversion process will be conducted in phases. About 50 stores are expected to be in the thick of the transition during the latter half of this year, starting in mid-summer. The majority of these will open under the Aldi banner in 2025.

However, Aldi reiterated that it continues to anticipate that a “meaningful” number of Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarkets will retain their banners. The full conversion process is expected to take several years, according to Aldi.

In response to a query about store counts, an Aldi spokesperson told The Shelby Report that there are 217 Aldi and more than 290 Southeastern Grocers stores in Florida. The counts in North Florida specifically were not provided.

“As we work through this transition period, we are still finalizing store plans,” the spokesperson said. “We look forward to sharing more details as we begin the store conversion process.”

Aldi said it builds and remodels stores with sustainable features such as energy-efficient LED lighting, environmentally friendly refrigeration systems and rooftop solar systems.

In North Florida, there are at least seven Harveys locations – six in the Jacksonville area and one in Havana, near Tallahassee, based on an online location search. And dozens of Winn-Dixies dot the northern third of the state, from its headquarters city of Jacksonville west across the Panhandle and south to Gainesville.

According to a March 7 article in The Jacksonville Daily Record, Aldi will maintain SEG’s Jacksonville headquarters and leadership to facilitate the process of bringing the Winn-Dixie and Harveys stores into the fold. Anthony Hucker serves as president and CEO of SEG.

The headquarters is located in the Prominence Office Park in the Baymeadows area.

“Given SEG Store Support Center teams know their customers and communities across the Southeast best, and with much work to be done as we transition, Aldi will continue to lean on these teams to ensure the future success of Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarkets businesses,” the article stated, citing a press release provided by an Aldi spokesperson.

Hucker praised the team at SEG for staying steady throughout the sale process. He said in a statement, “Throughout our transformational journey, it’s our people who have remained core to our business and success.”

[RELATED: Aldi Plans To Add 800 New Stores By 2028]

 

Competitors plentiful

In North Florida, Aldi faces competition from home state grocer Publix, which had 872 stores in Florida as of June 7, as well as Walmart, which has about 230 supercenters and about 100 Neighborhood Markets in the state, and a handful of independent grocers, including Rowe’s IGA, with six stores in Jacksonville and one in Orange Park.

While Kroger does not operate retail stores in Florida, it does have a Customer Fulfillment Center in Groveland that has a “spoke” in Jacksonville to fulfill area shoppers’ online orders. Kroger closed its spoke in the South Florida town of Opa-Locka in May, citing competitive struggles, but the one serving North Florida shoppers continued to operate at press time.

Job gains across the state

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in April, up 0.1 percentage point from the March rate, and up 0.6 percentage point from a year ago, according to the Bureau of Workforce Statistics and Economic Research. The state gained 240,500 jobs over the year, an increase of 2.5 percent. That’s better than the national gain of 1.8 percent.

In April, all 24 metro areas in Florida had over-the-year job gains. The areas with the largest increases were the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall MD (37,300 jobs, up 2.9 percent), followed by the Tampa-Saint Petersburg-Clearwater MSA (25,000 jobs, up 1.6 percent) and the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford MSA (24,300 jobs, up 1.7 percent).

The national unemployment rate stood at 3.5 percent in April. Both the Jacksonville and Tallahassee MSAs had lower rates, at 3.2 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

About the author

Lorrie Griffith

Lorrie began covering the supermarket and foodservice industries at Shelby Publishing in 1988, an English major fresh out of the University of Georgia. She began as an editorial assistant/proofreader (and continues to proofread everything, everywhere, in spite of herself). She spent three-plus decades with Shelby in various editorial roles, and after a detour into business development, rejoined Shelby in June 2024. "It's good to be back covering the greatest industry in the world," she says.

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