Inside Food Lion’s big bet in Charlotte

Inside Food Lion’s big bet in Charlotte
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Food Lion announced Wednesday that it will spend $215 million to remodel and redesign its 142 Charlotte-area stores.

The grocer was founded in Salisbury (it’s now part of a Belgian company, Delhaize) and has long been a solid No. 3 in grocery store market share in Charlotte behind Harris Teeter and Walmart.

Expect renovations on both the inside and outside of the stores. Twenty of them will be getting fancy new produce coolers (including the one on Park Road). There will also be a lot of attention to checkout lines. I’d definitely expect U-Scan to come in to at least some of them.

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Food Lion competes as a low-cost grocer.

This sets it apart from Harris Teeter and Publix, which are competing on the high end of the market.

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There is growing competition on this end of the market, and Food Lion is trying to keep up.

Food Lion competes most directly with Walmart already, and the retail giant is making a huge push into groceries right now. It’s opening Neighborhood Markets in the same kinds of markets that Food Lion likes.

[Agenda story: Why Walmart Neighborhood Markets will keep growing in Charlotte]

You’re also seeing convenience stores like 7-11 add more milk and produce and other items you might have once gone to a grocery store for. Food Lion will also face a challenge from Lidl as it enters the market on South Boulevard (where the Radio Center is now).

“There’s good competition everywhere,” Food Lion president Meg Ham told the Agenda. “That keeps us sharp.”

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Oh, and Food Lion is also donating $1.5 million to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

The money will go toward their warehouse expansion, which will now be called the Food Lion Feeds Center. Huge deal for the area. It will allow the food pantry to offer more fresh, healthy food to people.

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Image via Food Lion

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Image via Food Lion

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