retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Danbury News Times has a story about how in Darien, Connecticut, Stop & Shop has acquired one of the Shaw’s stores being sold by Supervalu...which will give it two stores serving a town of fewer than 20,000 people. It is one of five Shaw’s stores in Connecticut that Stop & Shop is buying, with the balance being acquired by ShopRite.

However, at this point Stop & Shop isn’t divulging its plans for the new Darien location, other than saying that it will operate the location and assume the Shaw’s contract with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
KC's View:
I’ll reiterate something here that I told the reporter who wrote this story - that Stop & Shop has the opportunity to do this store right, if it turns the mediocre Shaw’s unit into a first class shopping experience. But if it is half-hearted about this conversion, it will only reinforce the opinion of Stop & Shop in town...since the store it already operates there is one of the oldest and crappiest stores in its fleet. (I know this. I’ve lived in Darien for almost 26 years, and it is the location of MorningNewsBeat Global Headquarters.)

It is also an area that is about to get a lot more competitive. In addition to a Grade A ShopRite and Stew Leonard’s a few miles up the road, and a very competitive independent called Palmer’s. There also is a new Whole Foods going in this spring, and an enormous new Fairway opening a few miles down the road in Stamford. (Can’t wait for that one - it is across the street from the gym where I box.)

So Stop & Shop’s presence may be bigger, but stronger competition could actually make it diminish. The challenge to the company is to raise its game...because the bar is almost certainly going to be higher.