Jewel-Osco recently unveiled its first remodeled location under new ownership which provides a glimpse of its plans for the Chicago market. As Safeway plans to sell its Dominick's banner in the region, this leaves a shopper base that may be looking to another retailer to fill their shopping needs.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Jewel President William Emmons reflected on the opportunity presented by Dominick's anticipated exit from the Chicago market, which will open up dozens of store locations and as well as shopper loyalty.
"They're going to be searching for a new place to shop," Emmons said. "A lot of those stores will change banners with somebody, and they're not necessarily going to feel as comfortable as they might feel in a Jewel. We'll try to take advantage of all that."
Jewel executives presented improvements that included new flooring, expanded fresh produce offerings, a new salad bar, a sushi bar and a tank of live lobsters, the publication, notes. The 30,000-square-foot store offers ready-to-go meals, a bakery, craft beers and expansive vertical produce shelves underneath bold "fresh" signage seem squarely aimed at increased upscale competition, which, along with discounters, have squeezed the traditional grocery market.
Jewel was sold to Cerberus Capital Management in March, as part of a $3.3 billion deal that also included the Acme and Shaw banners as well as the rest of the Albertsons grocery chain.
The distinctly urban location caters to commuters, tourists and River North neighborhood residents and is the first of 20 planned remodels for Jewel's 176-store chain. Jewel leads the market with about 30 percent of shopping dollars, is also looking to expand by acquiring some of Dominick's 72 stores, including the four already purchased by Albertsons.
"We're obviously interested," Emmons said. "It's still a roll of the dice on who's going to get what. We'd like to have some of their locations."
Jewel purchased the four stores Oct. 10, retaining about 450 workers and the Dominick's banner, for now. The stores will close for a few days, then reopen as full-fledged Jewels, according to executives.
Emmons would not confirm a target number. According to sources noted by the publication, Jewel may be looking at as many as 30 locations, including the four it has acquired. Other players such as Kroger are potential bidders, but the lion's share may go to independent stores, perhaps by banding together through a partner, according to sources.
Stay tuned to DeliMarket TV as the potential bidders make their plays.