Publix pushes ahead with GreenWise Market expansion

Date : 23 June 2020

Stewart Samuel

Program Director - Canada

Publix has expanded its GreenWise store concept, opening its first store in Georgia and two additional outlets in Florida. This takes the chain to nine locations.

Specialty retail format

GreenWise Market is a specialty, natural and organic concept which offers a wide range of prepared foods made from organic and antibiotic-free ingredients. The concept is marginally smaller than a conventional Publix supermarket, at around 25,000 sq ft, and focuses more on the experiential nature of food retailing. Key features include in-store smoked meats, in-house made sausages, burrito bowls and specialty charcuterie options.

Source: IGD Research, Publix

Supporting social-distancing and safety practices

The store also takes a unique approach with the layout. It has developed a series of “experience zones” with simpler names. These include ‘Eats’, ‘Finds’ and ‘Pours’. Some elements of the offer have been adapted to support social-distancing and hygiene and safety practices. For example, the hot wings bar which is normally self-service, is currently offered as service only. Semi-permanent one-way signage has been installed directly onto the fixtures, rather than floor stickers. 

A challenging segment

These latest openings represent a step-up in the pace of development of the format by Publix. Initially launched in its current form in 2018, it represented a re-boot of its namesake format which was originally launched in 2007. The specialty retail segment has seen some challenges over the last year, with both Lucky’s Market and Earth Fare closing down most of their operations, while The Fresh Market is re-focusing its business with a curated range of products following an attempt to broaden its offer.

Set to benefit from Lucky’s Market exit

However, with Lucky’s Market having targeted Florida, Publix is well-positioned with the GreenWise Market to make gains in the segment. It acquired five former Lucky’s Market locations earlier this year, which have the potential to be part of the GreenWise Market network. The retailer’s home state is becoming increasingly competitive, with Kroger set to enter through its partnership with Ocado and Southeastern Grocers will be strengthened following the disposal of over 60 stores to Food Lion. However, with over 800 stores across Florida, Publix has a leading market share and is highly regarded by its customers. With the opportunity to take elements of the GreenWise concept into its core supermarket format, the retailer should be able to withstand the intensifying competitive landscape. 

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