'I like to call these supermarket wars': NC State professor on health of retail landscape

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Thursday, June 14, 2018
Grocery wars continue around the Triangle
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Grocery wars continue around the Triangle

A local economist says there's nothing wrong with the retail landscape in the Triangle even after Kroger announced it is pulling out of the area Wednesday.

"I think Harris Teeter plays better than Kroger does," said Mike Walden, economics professor at NC State University. "But this is a growing market--everyone wants to be here including Wegmans and Publix."

Walden believes this is more indicative of the continued massive disruption in the supermarket area.

"I like to call these supermarket wars," Walden said. "We've got millennials eating out more. Then, obviously, we've got Amazon coming and taking Whole Foods and everyone in every business that's not Amazon is afraid of Amazon."

Kroger owns Harris Teeter but insists this is not a rebranding. Kroger said they've not been able to grow in the way they would have liked to in Raleigh-Durham.

"It's really the fact that how we acquire food is changing," he said. "Something that didn't change a lot over several decades is changing in the blink of an eye."

A grocery expert told ABC11 that he believes Wegmans and Publix, both of which are opening new locations in the Triangle, are superior operators. He believes they will squeeze out the weaker players in the field.

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