Grocery Dive: Food Lion has been on the rise in recent years as its investments in store remodels and other improvements have helped build on its reputation as a low-price leader. The company has done a good job with its customer-loyalty program and enhanced its fresh produce, deli and bakery departments, which could help it fend off rivals like Aldi that are not as strong in those areas, experts said.
But the strong competition it faces means Food Lion needs to move fast to put its stamp on the Bi-Lo and Harveys stores and build connections with customers whose everyday stores will be getting a new identity, said Burt Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, a supermarket advisory firm.
Flickinger said the fact that Southeastern and Food Lion expect the transfer of the Bi-Lo and Harveys locations to take until next year leaves plenty of time for other retailers to capture the loyalties of customers losing the grocery supplier they are accustomed to. “If those stores are flapping around in the wind … the conversion [will be] highly problematic because the competitors will have already converted many of the loyal customers,” Flickinger told Grocery Dive.