Grocery goes high-tech in 2016.


Ordering groceries online and digitizing the store rank among the top trends in grocery shopping for 2016, according to

GroceryStories identified the following full list of top grocery trends for 2016:

Shopping Online: Ordering groceries online has been growing steadily for a few years, but will surge in 2016. Many supermarkets that have not offered such an option will jump on board, and more grocers will join the 65 retailers partnering with Instacart. Also, GroceryStories predicts there will be more testing of curbside pick-up of groceries that have been ordered online.

Digitizing the Supermarket: Retailers will look to connect digitally with smartphone-carrying shoppers, especially millennials who will account for most grocery purchases as they start families.

More grocers will install beacons and Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs).

Shrinking the Supermarket: Grocers will continue to open smaller supermarkets to cater to the needs of small households, especially in growing urban areas.

Entertaining in Stores: Operators of large supermarkets will take advantage of their space to lure customers with special events. More product sampling, nutritional tours and cooking demos will take place.

Dining in Stores:
Operators of many new large supermarkets are including a cafe with a light menu, and this trend will grow.

Sam’s Club supports Young Entrepreneurs Academy.


Sam’s Club and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are investing in an innovative program to help spawn the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Thirteen chambers of commerce across the U.S. received $5,000 each in startup funds to launch the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) in new communities. The donation — $2,500 from Sam’s Club, matched by $2,500 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) — helps students ages 11 to 18 to go through the process of starting and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year.

“Sam’s Club has helped small businesses start up and succeed since we opened 32 years ago. We are thrilled to help the Young Entrepreneurs Academy deliver entrepreneurial education to young people in the communities we serve,” said Rosalind Brewer, CEO and president of Sam’s Club.

YEA! is an innovative after-school educational program that works to transform middle and high school students into confident entrepreneurs. By the end of the 30-week class, students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried on after their graduation from the program.

Sam’s Club, USCCF and YEA! joined forces earlier this year to fuel growth and support for youth entrepreneurship and the future of small business in more than 100 U.S. communities. As a result of the collaboration, 13 new YEA! chapters will launch this year with the support of local Chambers of Commerce and the business community.

Funding provides the opportunity to launch an estimated 300 new student-run businesses and provide hands on, experiential learning for students in the YEA! program, spearheaded by the following funding recipients:

• Athens Chamber of Commerce, Athens, Texas
• Alexander City Chamber of Commerce, Alexander City, Alabama
• Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, Loxahachee, Florida
• Hannibal Chamber of Commerce, Hannibal, Missouri
• Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Lakeland, Florida
• Montrose Chamber of Commerce, Montrose, Colorado
• National Association of Women Business Owners Detroit & Detroit Chamber of Commerce, Detroit, Michigan
• Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, Paso Robles, California
• Richland Area Chamber of Commerce, Mansfield, Ohio
• Templeton Chamber of Commerce, Templeton, California
• Union County Economic Development Partnership, Marysville, Ohio
• Harford County Chamber of Commerce, Bel Air, Maryland
• Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, Santa Rosa, Florida

“The U.S. Chamber Foundation is delighted to team up with YEA! and Sam’s Club, and we look forward to together inspiring young people through the spirit of the free enterprise system,” said Carolyn Cawley, managing director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “By offering support for these educational programs, we hope to emphasize what a powerful tool entrepreneurship can be.”

YEA! was developed in 2004 at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, with support from the Kauffman Foundation. YEA! now receives national support from the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Sam’s Club, to help promote the spirit of enterprise and build the next generation of business leaders in communities all across the country.

Fresh & Easy sets auction for warehouse equipment.


Fresh & Easy said Monday it plans to hold an auction Saturday to sell the rolling stock of its refrigerated food distribution facility in Riverside, Calif.

The equipment includes 307 new and used refrigerated trailers, more than 40 forklifts and more than 200 electric pallet jacks, as well as machinery, batteries and other items, according to the company.

The items will be available for viewing on Friday, with the auction scheduled the following day beginning at 10 a.m. Interested parties can call (818) 508-7034 or go to for additional information.

The auction was ordered by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court as part of Fresh & Easy’s Oct. 30 Chapter 11 filing.

Fresh & Easy operates 97 stores in Southern California, Arizona and Las Vegas. It was acquired by Yucaipa Cos., Los Angeles, in 2013 from United Kingdom-based Tesco, which built the Riverside warehouse.

Kings shows off private label line.


Kings Food Markets announced Thursday a complete line of private label products under the Kings Own brand. The retailer has been gradually introducing Kings Own products to stores over the past few months.

The gourmet line includes fresh, frozen and packaged goods, everything from eggs and orange juice to pastas and sauces to gelato and frozen sides.

The products were chosen to meet Kings’ standards, the retailer said. The assortment of marinades and sauces, for example, are made in small batches from all-natural ingredients.

“At Kings, our passion for food drives us to bring shoppers the highest quality, the freshest and the very best ingredients, and now, through our own assortment of products, we’re able to bring our customers the perfect balance of quality and value, tailored for each product, making great food approachable,” Judy Spires, president and CEO of Kings Food Markets, said in a press release. “That’s why our shelves are filled with amazing choices that turn everyday experiences into memorable events — and now we’re making it even better.”

According to a company spokesperson, the initial response from shoppers has been “overwhelming.”

Kings, based in Parsippany, N.J., has been promoting the private label products on its Facebook page as they roll out.


Costco sales up for 4Q, FY, down for August.


Costco Wholesale Corp. said Wednesday sales for the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31 rose 1% to $35 billion and 3% for the year to $110.2 billion.

Comparable sales, excluding gasoline and foreign exchange, rose 6% for the quarter and 7% for the year in both the U.S. and international segments.

For the four-week retail month ended Aug. 30, net sales dropped 1% to $8.7 billion, which the company said was due to the negative impact of the calendar shift of the Labor Day holiday in the U.S. and Canada by one week and the Chuseok holiday in Korea by two weeks. Comps in August were up 5% in the U.S. and 7% for international, for an overall increase of 5%.

Jeffrey Elliott, AVP, financial planning and investor relations, said the company estimates the negative impact from the shifts on total and comp sales in August were just under minus 1%.

The company said sales of food and sundries were in the low- to mid-single-digit range in August, with sundries, cooler, deli and frozen foods showing the strongest results; while fresh foods also had positive comp results in the mid-single-digit range, with produce and service deli the top performers.

Average transaction size for August fell approximately 5.25%, including a drop of approximately 7.25% from the combined negative impact of gas deflation and foreign exchange; and traffic was up 3.25%, reflecting a negative impact of about 1% from the holiday shifts, Elliott said. Cannibalization in August impacted comp sales by approximately minus 20 basis points, he added.

During August the company opened six new locations — three in Japan and one each in Taiwan, Korea and the United Kingdom — for a total of 23 new clubs opened in fiscal 2015.

John Heinbockel, managing director of Guggenheim Securities, New York, noted the number of openings declined in 2015 from 29 in 2014, which he said he attributed to timing, with at least 14 openings scheduled for the first half of fiscal 2016, compared with eight in the first half of 2015.

“The U.S. is still under-stored, while the current number of international clubs, excluding Canada, could easily double from 117, which would support 5% growth for the next 10 to 15 years,” he added.

Kelly Bania, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, New York, said she anticipates “positive catalysts” for Costco shares over the next 12 to 18 months from the company’s transition to the Citi/Visa credit card program next spring, “where we believe Costco may be able to use savings to enhance membership loyalty,” and from the potential for a possible rise in membership fees in mid-2017.


Retailers invest in produce to thwart competition.


With consumers increasingly focused on the perimeter, many retailers are making investments in the produce department as a way to differentiate their offerings or simply bring shoppers into the store.

Other retailers have been playing catch up as competition in produce heats up.

The Fresh Market, for example, has worked to lower produce prices after seeing too much of a price gap over its competitors’ prices. Interim CEO Sean Crane told investors last week that the retailer had made efforts to close the gap in the previous quarter.

Enjoying results from the initiative may take time, however. The Fresh Market’s comparable-store sales dipped in the second quarter, and Crane said overall pricing and promotional investments were “less effective than anticipated.”

Crane outlined a few reasons why the produce investments have taken time to sway customers.

“One is you need to shop the store a few times to really start to feel the improved pricing. And then, we also have a little bit of a headwind in that as customers shop our store, our research indicates that even if we are equally priced, there is a price perception issue because of the premium attributes of the experience around it. So, we have to keep finding ways to invest in price, but also better communicate it,” said Crane.

Produce price competition is heating up.

Produce price competition is heating up. (Photo by Liz Webber)

Similarly, Sprouts Farmers Markets has noticed a “more aggressive approach on promotions” in the produce department from its competitors, president and COO Jim Nielsen told investors earlier this month.

“It’s primarily coming from our conventional competitors within each geography. We’re seeing some specialty retailers do some in-store, but we don’t — we haven’t seen any negative impact to that,” said Nielsen.

He added that he expects the same level of produce promotions from competitors in the third quarter and possibly through the end of the year.

Sprouts has always used produce as a differentiator, and often makes investments in order to maintain a competitive edge.

At the same time, one of the main factors impacting produce sales this year is deflation, executives noted. Sprouts still sold the highest amount of produce by volume in the second quarter this year since the first quarter of 2014.

“So we’re moving a ton of produce, no pun intended there, and we’re seeing the basket size in terms of number of items grow at the highest level in two years,” said Nielsen. “So I don’t anticipate the conventionals backing off in terms of their investment and, if they do, there is going to be upside for us. If they don’t, it’s built into our guidance.”

How much Sprouts needs to invest in produce moving forward will depend on inflation and competition, new CEO Amin Maredia said.

“We had a pretty rough first half of the year in produce this year. I think that the marketplace will dictate how much we need to invest,” said Maredia.

One conventional retailer that has begun to see the fruits of its investments is Ahold USA. The retailer has invested in price across the perimeter and remodeled produce departments in many of its stores.

“And it’s not only the choice and the signage, but also the customer engagement with our employees has been made the big step forward in this produce department by training and education,” Ahold CEO Dick Boer said in an earnings call earlier this month.

Boer credits these investments for Ahold USA’s four consecutive quarters of volume market share increases.

“Our growth in volume market share proves that our customers reward us for offering better quality and value to them,” said Boer.

After an initial lag time where produce volume was up but dollar sales turned negative, Whole Foods Market has also experienced positive results from stores where it has invested in produce.

“So we’ve been encouraged and started to see in the last couple of periods where the actual sales have gone positive, and those produce departments are comping positive now so that the units now have increased in a lot of them above where the investment is,” president and COO A.C. Gallo told investors in July.

“That’s been very encouraging to us. And we definitely have plans to use those learnings in additional stores and regions as we go forward, especially next fiscal year.”

Wall Street concerned with The Fresh Market results.


Wall Street analysts expressed concerns with The Fresh Market a day after the chain reported flat earnings per share and negative comparable-store sales.

“Results were even more disappointing than we thought and suggest the company is not moving fast enough to address the challenges of a fast-changing food retail landscape,” Kelly Bania, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, New York, said.

“The weak results were likely exacerbated by temporary factors — including produce deflation and double-digit meat inflation — yet we believe TFM is in an identity crisis as it struggles to maintain its industry-leading EBITDA margins while resisting the temptation to more aggressively compete on price but maintain its premium quality and in-store experience.”

Those goals, she added, are complicated by the lack of a permanent CEO and, as of Thursday, the departure of Marc Jones as SVP and chief merchandising and supply chain officer.

“Near-term initiatives — encompassing productivity, brand awareness, advertising, testing and changing promotional and pricing strategies — do not appear to be enough to stabilize comps, [which] leaves a high degree of uncertainty for earnings.”

Karen Short, an analyst with Deutsche Bank, New York, said she believes Greensboro, N.C.-based TFM “needs to invest in price to drive traffic and comps and should cut its unit growth until it can stabilize the core business.”

In discussing financial results with analysts Thursday, Sean Crane, interim president and CEO, said The Fresh Market plans to review its pipeline of expansion targets with a greater focus on returns.

“While the success of our most recent store openings gives us confidence there are significant opportunities for unit growth, we also believe it is prudent to continue to review our current pipeline,” he explained. “In light of current sales and margin performance, we are reviewing the assumptions with a focus on managing return-on-invested-capital for our company and shareholders.”

Addressing the flat earnings and negative comps, Crane said they reflected “changes in our pricing and promotional investments that were less effective than anticipated in a more challenging macro environment, which were partially offset by successful marketing activities as well as the benefit of our expense controls.”

Jeffrey C. Ackerman, EVP and CFO, said the company’s promotional goal in the second quarter was to improve traffic flow by replacing one-day events with multi-day events, “which we thought would result in better in-store execution and thereby better sales. But looking back, we realize that as we chose the promotions, it required us to take a different approach in terms of the items, and we believe that had an effect on the traffic that came in.

“As we move forward, we’re going to continue to make sure we’re providing a great experience for customers, with great execution, but that we’re also balancing the traffic-driving capabilities of the promotions so we have the right promotions at the right price.”

CMO’s departure

Crane announced the departure of the CMO, noting a search is underway “for an individual who will help us accelerate the improvement of our pricing, selection and merchandise offering.”

Until a successor is named, Crane said he will be more hands-on, working with the merchandising team “to bring up some fresh ideas and help with merchandising, pricing, selection and that kind of thing.”

On the supply chain side, Crane said Maria Ross has been hired as VP, supply chain, following three years as VP, supply chain strategy, at BJ’s Wholesale Club and previous stints at Home Depot and Oldcastle.

Crane, The Fresh Market’s VP and COO, was named interim CEO earlier this year. He said the TFM board “continues to interview candidates for the CEO position.”

He said TFM expects negative comps to continue through the second half because of more difficult comparisons with last year and continued deflationary pressures.

Crane listed several initiatives the company has implemented to improve financial results, including a multi-media brand-positioning; refinement of targeted marketing promotions to develop more personalized programs; increased use of social media; an improved customer service program; and efforts to develop more productive backrooms to create better in-stock positions.

Ackerman said the company is also implementing new recruiting tools to help better assess “people that have a propensity to serve”: testing new incentives to align staff with service; eliminating non-value-added tasks to better serve customers; and, at a couple of stores, testing incremental labor-hour investments.

Regarding pricing, Ackerman said The Fresh Market intends to be competitive on like-for-like items and charge a price commensurate with value on differentiated products.

Asked if customers recognize the company’s pricing strategy, Crane said they do if they shop the stores on a regular basis.

“We invested pretty heavily this quarter in produce prices, but we saw a sequential deflation in produce of 600 basis points. So customers need to shop the store a few times to really start to feel the improved pricing. There’s also a little bit of a headwind [because] our research indicates that even if we are equally priced, there is a price perception issue because of the premium attributes of the [store] experience.

“So we have to keep finding ways not only to invest in price but also to communicate it better. Once we find that balance, we can start to make those investments.”

Walmart leads 2015 Top 25 Global Retailers.


A shifting focus toward smaller retail formats and the strong U.S. dollar influenced Planet Retail’s list of the Top 25 Global Retailers, on which Walmart, Costco and Carrefour took the top three spots, respectively.

The ranking is based on 2015 sales in U.S. dollars, which Planet Retail has forecast for the year while taking into account historic performance, store opening projections (which are reflected in store counts provided) and an estimated comparable store growth rate.

With a projected $527.8 billion in sales, Wal-Mart Stores bests all other international retailers by a wide margin, according to Planet Retail.

“Walmart remains by far the leading player but will not rest on its laurels,” noted Robert Gregory, head of advisory for London-based Planet Retail. “In fact, there are a number of key strategic initiatives it is pursuing at home and abroad.”

These include restoring performance in some faltering international markets and focusing on e-commerce around the world.

“Walmart was initially slow to embrace e-commerce, but is making up ground fast with global e-commerce sales growing at more than 20% per annum,” Gregory said.

While the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer has online operations in most countries in which it operates, its key markets for digital sales are the U.S., U.K., Brazil and China, according to Gregory. Walmart considers Asda in the U.K. and Yihaodian in China to be best-in-class for e-commerce, he said.

No. 2 retailer, Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco Wholesale Corp., with a projected $127.9 billion in sales, has about 70% of its 687 outlets in the U.S., according to Gregory who said it is scheduled to open 24 new stores by fiscal year 2015.

“While the growth of ancillary businesses and an expanded service offering should boost domestic sales, international club expansion will drive new member growth, which will propel a stronger bottom line,” he said. “The first store in France is scheduled for 2016, following on from entry into Spain in 2014.”

French retailer Carrefour is No. 3, with $119.8 billion in sales when converted to U.S. dollars, and 12,965 outlets.

Gregory noted that despite increasing sales in their local currency, many European and Japanese retailers declined their ranking on the list due to currency exchange rates to the U.S. dollar.

Kroger, with $116.4 billion in sales and 3,750 stores takes the No. 4 spot, followed by Tesco.

The U.K.-based retailer is coming off a “nightmare year, rocked by leadership changes, the accountancy scandal, negative like-for-like sales and a record loss,” according to Gregory. “Further disposals are likely [such as Dunnhumby] and international markets such as South Korea, as it looks to rebuild its balance sheet and generate funds to invest in the U.K.”

While the outlook for Tesco and its 7,990 stores isn’t all doom and gloom, it still has a fair amount of challenges ahead.

“Tesco is currently on a journey and recent trading has actually improved and it is actually performing stronger than rivals such as Walmart’s Asda,” added Gregory. “However, it will be a long journey and with like-for-likes at its hypermarkets continuing to decline and with store openings being scaled back, Tesco is likely to fall further down the global ranking in the coming years.”

7-Eleven parent Seven & I, is the No. 6 retailer with $101.4 billion in sales across 38,009 outlets which include its retail banners and its nonfood offerings such as department stores.

U.S. invasion

It’s followed in the ranking by Lidl parent, Schwarz Group, with $99.7 billion in sales. Earlier this summer, Lidl confirmed plans to expand beyond Europe for the first time, to the U.S., but these stores are not expected to open in the near-term and therefore did not factor into Planet Retail’s projections. Schwarz Group has also announced market entries in Serbia (Kaufland, Lidl) and Lithuania (Lidl), according to Gregory.

With $96.2 billion in sales, U.S.-based Walgreens Boots Alliance is ranked No. 8. Its position was boosted by Walgreen’s acquisition of the remaining 55% of Alliance Boots that it did not own, to form the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise and the largest purchaser of prescription drugs in the world.

Japanese retailer Aeon is No. 9 on the list with $92.1 billion in sales and 19,171 total outlets. And rounding out the top 10 is Aldi, which, according to Gregory, is among the retailers who’ve slipped down the ranking due to an unfavorable EUR-to-USD exchange rate.

Aldi’s expansion plans include new stores in a range of markets including some in Western and Southern Australia and West Coast and Southern California stores in the U.S. In addition to acquiring the Bottom Dollar chain from Delhaize, it hopes to more than double its stores in the U.K. by 2022, according to Gregory.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp., No. 11 on the list, “will accelerate small-box and urban expansion, via TargetExpress and to a lesser extent CityTarget,” said Gregory. “After having opened its first TargetExpress location last summer in its home market of Minneapolis, Target is set to open eight additional locations in 2015, more than half of its total planned store openings for the year.”

With $79.9 billion in sales, France-based Auchan is the 12th ranked retailer, followed by Metro Group (No. 13) with $77.9 billion in sales.

No. 14 on the list, CVS, with $70.5 billion in sales and 7,923 stores will continue to expand organically as well as benefit from the store-within-a-store concept that will result from its purchase of Target’s 1,660 in-store pharmacies and 80 in-store clinics, Gregory said.

“A clear trend amongst all players on the ranking is the shifting focus towards smaller formats,” he told SN. “Even the likes of Walmart are trying to decrease the proportion of sales from big-box stores as they look to embrace smaller formats, such as Walmart to Go and Walmart on Campus.

“In addition, investing in stores to make them a more integral part of the online shopping experience has become a priority with all leading players introducing click and collect facilities across their store networks. Clearly, this will be part of their attempts to reinvent the weak performing big-box stores, as well as measures such as improved service, greater use of in-store technology and trying to cater to the mobile shopper in the stores.”

Other notable retailers on the list include No. 19 Albertsons, with $56.8 billion in sales, whose ranking was boosted as a result of its merger with Safeway, and No. 22 Ahold, whose $46.7 billion sales projection does not include its forthcoming merger with Delhaize, according to Gregory.

United Fresh to honor retail produce managers at annual show.


During its annual show in Chicago next month, United Fresh will present its 11th annual Retail Produce Manager Awards to 25 honorees from 23 retailers and commissaries.

United Fresh chose the 25 recipients from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and suppliers.

This year’s honorees are:

  • Scott Baker, Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Mario Branco, Lucky Supermarkets, Oakley, Calif.
  • Tom Dubrowski, King’s Food Markets, Cresskill, N.J.
  • Tony Gilliam, K-VA-T Food Stores, Weber City, Va.
  • Gary Gillispie, Altus AFB Commissary, Altus, Okla.
  • Bernadine Godeck, Pick’N Save, Eagle River, Wis.
  • Martin Gomez, Grocery Outlet, Chehalis, Wash.
  • Esteban Gonzalez, Rouses Supermarkets, Gretna, La.
  • Juan Graciano, Safeway, Redding, Calif.
  • Tom Johnson, Hannaford Bros., Taunton, Mass.
  • Brad Johnston, Brookshire Grocery Co., Shreveport, La.
  • Chuck Kauffman, Andronico’s Community Markets, San Francisco
  • Sue Knop, Food Pride, Ida Grove, Iowa
  • Henry Kryeski, River Valley Market, Northampton, Mass.
  • Michelle Lee, Ball Foods, Ball, La.
  • Justin Lorson, Weis Markets, Lewisburg, Pa.
  • Anthony Machado, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Granite Bay, Calif.
  • Cedric Patrick, The Kroger Co., Atlanta, Ga.
  • Dale Schoenefeld, Hy-Vee, Watertown, S.D.
  • AJ Sleasman, Price Chopper, Clifton Park, N.Y.
  • Ryan Tanner, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Reno, Nev.
  • Ron Tarini, Big Y Foods, Brandford, Conn.
  • Josh Teifel, Food Maxx, Concord, Calif.
  • Kevin Thalken, Hy-Vee, Blue Springs, Mo.
  • Mike Underwood, Coborn’s, New Prague, Minn.

“Produce managers are on the front lines, educating consumers in the produce department — a critical touch point for the fresh produce industry,” said United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel. “We are grateful to Dole Food Company for their sponsorship of this program and partnership in recognizing these 25 deserving honorees.”

Five Grand Prize winners will receive a $1,000 cash prize during the Retail-Foodservice Celebration Dinner on June 10, during which all 25 honorees will be recognized.

A select panel of Retail Produce Manager Awardees will participate in a discussion on the show floor in the Fresh Marketplace Learning Center on June 10 at 1:15 p.m.

Houston; Private investor buys Fiesta.


Houston-based Hispanic grocery chain Fiesta Mart has been acquired from its family owners by Acon Investments, officials said Wednesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Michael Byars

Michael Byars

Michael Byars, the former CEO of Bi-Lo and Minyard Food Stores, has been appointed CEO of the 60-store chain. He is succeeding longtime CEO Louis Katopodis, who is retiring.

C&S Wholesale Grocers, which acquired Fiesta supplier Grocers Supply last year, will continue to supply Fiesta Mart stores. Acon is a Washington-based private investor whose other investments include the Mexican discount chain Waldo’s and Carulla, one of the largest supermarket chains in Colombia.

“We are excited to be partnering with Mike and the entire Fiesta team,” Ken Brotman, a founding partner of Acon, said in a statement. “Fiesta has established itself as a leading international and Hispanic grocery operator in the United States, and we look forward to building value in a business that is very well positioned for continued growth.”

Byars most recently served as CEO of Bi-Lo, where he led an effort to reinvigorate the brand through neighborhood merchandising and a strong promotional program.

“I sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence placed in me by Acon. I look forward to working with the company’s employees to further strengthen Fiesta’s position and growth in the markets it serves,” Byars said. “I would like to thank Louis Katopodis and his team for positioning Fiesta as a market leader in the areas we serve.”

Fiesta Mart operates stores under the Fiesta Mart and Carnival banners in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin markets and the Fiesta Fresh Market in Conroe, Texas. The Carnival stores formerly belonged to Texas-based Minyard, which employed Byars as its CEO prior to his joining Bi-Lo. Byars previously spent 19 years with Delhaize Group.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Fiesta Mart had been acquired by C&S Wholesale Grocers last year. Fiesta Mart remained with its family owners while C&S acquired its parent company, Grocers Supply Co. 

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