Kroger takes Teeter: Merger announced

Charlottesville is a hot grocery market, and according to Food World magazine, Kroger is the grocery alpha dog in the competitive local pack. Apparently, the top dog is hungry as it just devoured second place Harris Teeter.

"Harris Teeter brings to Kroger an exceptional brand and complementary base of 212 stores in attractive southeastern and mid-Atlantic markets and in Washington, D.C.," reads the July 9 press release announcing the merger. As part of the deal, Kroger paid $49.38 per share for all outstanding Harris Teeter stocks, a 34 percent premium over the January 18 price, according to the release.

Here in Charlottesville, both Kroger and Harris Teeter have three stores, but the Food World report placed Kroger's total local sales at $104 million annually— $50 million more than Teeter's. And combining the top two stores surely cements Kroger's grocery market dominance over smaller competitors, including Food Lion, Giant, which closed its Seminole Square location last year, and Whole Foods.

What does it mean for local grocery shoppers, particularly those who go to the Harris Teeter or Kroger locations at Barracks Road Shopping Center?

Probably nothing, at least immediately. According to the release, there are no planned store closures or significant renovations— something a Harris Teeter source confirms.

"We will maintain the Harris Teeter banner, our management teams, our new store growth plan, our distribution and manufacturing facilities in North Carolina as well as our headquarters in Matthews, N.C.," says Charlotte-based Harris Teeter spokesperson Donna Jones, who promises shoppers "the outstanding product and customer service they have come to expect from their Harris Teeter."


Harris Teeter has been showing the awkward signs of the same descent, however slowly, in customer service that Giant suffered AFTER it was bought by Ahold. Since customer service is pretty non-existent at Kroger, the decline will likely continue, as its high prices remain.

I hear that Stop N Shop and A&P are merging also...

No Customer service? What are you talking about? Kroger always has an employee, who probably could be ringing you up, telling you which line is the shortest. You know you can't count. C'mon!

We need a Kroger at Zion Crossroads and it would be welcomed with open arms. Guaranteed profitability if a Kroger is ever built here. Walmart needs some competition! Walmart has empty shelves because there is not another grocery store within 15 miles. There is a Food Lion at Lake Monticello, a Food Lion in Orange, Giant and Food Lion at Pantops. Food Lion also needs competition!