With its latest $40 million investment to upgrade its 23 stores in the Charlottesville and Harrisonburg areas of Virginia, Food Lion has now spent nearly $1.07 billion to remodel 689 stores over the past five years, about 80 percent of its total store fleet.
With the completion of its latest Virginia store improvements and conversion to the company’s “Easy, Fresh and Affordable” strategy, Food Lion has also hired 400 additional associates.
“Food Lion has nourished our neighbors in the greater Charlottesville, Harrisonburg community for 37 years, and we’re excited to bring these improvements to our 23 local stores,” said Meg Ham, president of Food Lion. “We’ve created a new grocery shopping experience through the significant investments in our stores, associates and communities. From our expanded variety and product assortment, newly reorganized stores, to a more efficient check-out experience, every change we’ve made will make it easier for our customers to find the quality products they have come to expect from Food Lion. When coupled with our weekly sales and promotions, customers will see that we have made it easier for them to nourish their families with healthy foods on a budget.”
Food Lion’s store renewal program began in August 2014 when the banner, now an Ahold Delhaize USA brand (the plan began under the guidance of then-parent firm Delhaize America), remodeled 31 stores in the Wilmington, NC market at a cost of approximately $50 million
A little more than a year later, “Easy, Fresh and Affordable” was expanded to include 162 stores in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. That investment was $250 million.
In October 2016, Food Lion refurbished 142 units in the Charlotte, NC market at a cost of $215 million and a year later the discounter spent $110 million on its 71 stores in the greater Richmond market to upgrade its supermarkets in one of the most competitive markets in the country.
In 2018, Food Lion remodeled 105 stores in the Tidewater area of Virginia (cost $168 million while adding an additional 5,000 associates) and spent another $91.7 million to augment its 63 stores in the Roanoke, VA market.
In addition to the recent Charlottesville-Harrisonburg improvements, last month Food Lion spent $158 million to upgrade its 92 stores in the South Carolina markets of Charleston, Columbia, Florence and Myrtle Beach.
In all markets where the chain has refurbished its stores, significant contributions have also been made to local food banks and other charitable organizations.
While Food Lion has invested heavily to improve store operations, the returns thus far have justified the expense. The banner has become one of Ahold Delhaize USA’s top producers in terms of comp store sales and customers have certainly noticed the product assortment expansion and improvements in its fresh selections including adding many “local” programs. Along with the physical enhancements, Food Lion has also lowered prices, improved its labor training and strengthened its private label program.
As for which markets are next targeted for upgrades, a company spokesman said: “We will review the remainder of our 10-state market with no details right now of which market we will provide renovations or store investments in the future.”