After about four years of expanding its footprint in Florida, Lucky’s Market is calling it quits and this time, it’s leaving the Florida market completely.
Just two years ago, Lucky’s Market was in the middle of a crowded Florida grocery market, aggressively expanding its footprint. Less than four years since opening its first store, Lucky’s abandoning all of that growth ambition, and now wants out.
This is what happened;
A meteoric rise and a disappointing fall
Lucky’s Market is known for its affordable organic grocery products. Fans have also come to love its popular ‘sip n shop’ offering that lets you sip good beer and wine while you shop from just $2. It’s safe to say the company has won a few hearts with its affordable product offerings and very friendly staff. However, due to a range of issues, we’ll discuss later on, they’re closing all of their 21 stores across Florida.
Recently, news broke out that Lucky’s Market parent company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and that the couple who owns the parent company would buy and continue running seven of the remaining Lucky’s Market stores still in operation. That news had reassured the public that at least the 120,000 SF distribution center in West Melbourne would remain open.
But fans and customers who had hoped to occasionally ‘sip n shop’ at the one South Florida store the couple had promised to keep may have had their hopes dashed now.
A February 5 announcement had revealed that that store along with four others will now be sold to Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn Dixie.
What went wrong?
It was indeed a meteoric rise and a disappointing fall.
The Kroger Co. holds a 55% stake in Lucky’s Market and had been investing in the company since 2016. The company had been very influential in helping Lucky’s Market expand its foothold across Florida, backing 31 of its leases.
However, Kroger announced towards the end of last year that it would be selling its stake in Lucky’s Market after not seeing ‘meaningful’ return on the investment. And now, while stores across Florida are being shut off, many other stores planned for future openings are already abandoned.
How did Lucky’s become so unlucky?
Well, a lot of things are collectively involved if we try to explain why Lucky’s Market relevance in Florida was so short-lived. There is the issue with grocery delivery systems on one side and then the consumer behavior of ordering ahead to pickup, on the other side. These things appear to be hurting traditional grocery stores.
Speaking on the recent developments with Tampa Bay Times, Phil Lempert, a food marketing expert, and consumer analyst attributed this to the current adjustment going on across Florida.
“There are a lot of over-stored areas in the country. It’s safe to say we’re going through an adjustment period,” Phil says.
Lucky’s Market returns have failed to justify Kroger’s investment.
Kroger’s divesting its interest and Lucky Market’s stores across Florida are being auctioned off. 18 of the 21 Florida stores are already subjects of purchase agreements. Aldi will buy six of the stores including the ones at Oakland Park and Coral Springs.
Hitchcock’s Market is taking over the St. Petersburg Store and Seabra Foods is buying the store at Hunter’s Creek. Publix as well is expected to buy five. The five stores purchased by Southeastern Grocers will, however, become Winn Dixie stores.
It’s sad but Lucky’s Markets, all of them will be going out of the Florida market.