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Harris Teeter 'Regional Grocer Worth Watching'

November 20, 2012

Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. has reported that fiscal 2012 sales rose 5.8 percent to $4.54 billion, while fourth quarter sales climbed 3.7 percent to $1.14 billion.

Same-store sales rose 3.97 percent for the year, and 3.01 percent for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. According to a Planet Retail report by Sandy Skrovan, research director – US, what is particularly impressive is the solid comparable store performance in the third and fourth quarters on top of exceptionally strong gains in the same periods a year ago. Skrovan notes that Harris Teeter comp results have returned to pre-recession form.

Harris Teeter ranked 34th on the PLBuyer Top 35 list for 2011.

Thomas W. Dickson, chairman of the board and CEO of Harris Teeter Supermarkets, stated, “We are pleased with our results for fiscal 2012 and the completion of our purchase and sale transaction with Lowes Foods.

“Our pricing and promotional strategies continue to be effective in driving unit sales and customer visits. On a comparable store basis, we continue to experience increased unit sales compared to the prior year and our store brand penetration continues to improve. We believe these positive results are attributable to our continuing commitment to our customers to deliver outstanding values and excellent customer service.”

Part of that customer service can be seen with Harris Teeter’s new 201central stores, the company’s new small-box concept. The 201central stores are intended to be a destination for shoppers seeking something “special” and offer a vast array of specialty foods, Skrovan reported. Providing customers with unique and unusual fare and exemplary service is a key differentiator for upscale formats and 201central looks positioned to deliver, she said. 

According to the retailer’s website, 201central stores offer café seating, in-store wine consultants, educational classes focused on wine, beer, and food pairings, a beer room, and a walk-in humidor. Harris Teeter offers several store brand alcohol options. Its Earth Wise wines are "Earth Friendly" featuring sustainably farmed grapes coupled with all recyclable packaging.  Its Barrel Trolley Beer includes Belgian-Style Wheat Ale, Pale Ale, Amber Ale, IPA, and Nut Brown. Additional wines from the retailer include Oak Creek, Ocean Song, and Marqués de ValCarlos.

In Harris Teeter markets, shoppers will find gourmet goods from around the world under its H.T. Traders brand.  Harris Teeter Naturals products include healthy, natural and organic foods. The Harris Teeter brand includes food staples from cookies to canned vegetables.Hunter Farms supplies ice cream, milk, and other dairy products to Harris Teeter stores under the names of Hunter Farms, Highland Crest and Harris Teeter. Non-food items are found under the retailer’s Youhome, Yourbaby, Yourtot, and Yourpet brands.

Skrovan said future plans included 12 new store openings and nine major remodels in 2013, resulting in a 5.4 percent increase in retail square footage. The retailer will continue its aggressive push north to open new stores in the Washington, D.C., area and the newly launched premium 201central small-box concept could give Harris Teeter the opportunity to tap new geographies as well as capture shoppers seeking premium, specialty and convenience.

“The combination of initiatives under way at Harris Teeter makes it a regional grocer worth watching,” Skrovan said.

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