Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Your Winn-Dixie Store's Future Still Remains to Be Seen

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Your Winn-Dixie Store's Future Still Remains to Be Seen

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Brune Mathis

Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. leaders can't say exactly what will happen to the Winn-Dixie in your neighborhood, but here are what I consider the possibilities.

-- Your neighborhood store might be one of the 50 that the chain will remodel during the coming fiscal year or one of the 75 that might be renovated in fiscal 2008. If all goes well, the company intends to remodel all of its 527 stores. President Peter Lynch won't elaborate about the new designs, but look for different colors and, as he puts it, more friendly, comfortable and convenient shopping.

-- Your store might not be immediately remodeled, but it probably will upgrade departments. Lynch said the chain has improved its checkout service, and produce and meat departments, and more is on the way. "We still have a lot of work to do," he said.

-- Then again, if your store's performance falls short, the company might sell or close it, although Lynch said there are no plans for large-scale closings. He couldn't guarantee that any particular store, or the company itself, wouldn't be sold once the chain completes its reorganization, probably in October.

-- If your neighborhood store closes or sells, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. might consider it for one of its groceries-only Neighborhood Markets. Eric Brewer, Wal-Mart senior manager for public affairs, said the retailer is actively looking both for sites to develop and stores to redevelop in Jacksonville, and adds that it already snagged three former Winn-Dixies in South and Southwest Florida.

The Neighborhood Markets are only about 40,000 square feet, much smaller than SuperCenters. Wal-Mart opens the markets in populated areas between its SuperCenters on the premise that shoppers don't want to drive more than 10 or 15 minutes for groceries. That drive depends on traffic, meaning that a 10-minute drive in a congested part of town might be just a few miles. That's one reason there seems to be an inordinate number of Wal-Marts. …

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