Photo Credit: https://www.positivelyosceola.com/
Lucky’s Market has unfortunately been hit with bad luck. By February 2020, the grocery store chain will close 32 of its 39 stores in 10 states, including Florida. The move was sparked by the decision of The Kroger Co. to divest its interest in Lucky’s Market in December 2019. The Boulder, Colorado-based natural food retailer will be said to lay off hundreds of employees, as reported through a blast of messages on social media, various local media outlets and a source close to the company with knowledge of the matter.
“This is due to money running out after [the] Kroger divestment,” the source, who was critical of Lucky’s founder and CEO Bo Sharon’s management of the company, told Progressive Grocer.
The closures were announced on store Facebook pages on January 21. Lucky’s corporate account on Facebook later confirmed the news on January 22.
A timeline of closures and layoffs is yet to be revealed. One local news outlet report said only one Florida store would remain open (in West Melbourne). Twenty other locations in the state are closing by February 12.
A 25% discount on store products will be effective January 22.
It is unclear if the 14 stores that were slated to open in Florida this year will actually open. However, there are rumors of half-completed stores simply sitting idle and suddenly signage disappears. Another local report noted that a location scheduled to open in Denver has now been canceled. Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,769 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, such as Kroger, Dillons and Baker’s.
The company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.
The organic food market became known for offering $2 pints of beer and $3 glasses of wine for sale as customers shopped for rare and cheaply-priced organic foods. Lucky’s was founded by husband and wife Bo and Trish Sharon in 2003. Customers can currently enjoy shopping for health products in a farmer’s market-type environment. The retailer had expanded from 16 stores to 39 in three years. Future development plans were in the works and an Orlando-based distribution center was set to open to serve them.
A letter posted to the Internet from an employee said management alerted workers January 21 that locations would be closing. Lucky’s Corporate also released a public announcement later that afternoon. Kroger originally invested in Lucky’s Market in 2016. Industry rumors said Kroger’s net losses on Lucky’s reached nine figures. Our research found that number to be $107 million net loss.
The Hunter’s Creek location in Osceola County opened in October 2018. Orlando and Winter Park locations just opened in May 2019, and a store in Waterford Lakes near the University of Central Florida opened in 2017.
Kroger and some of it’s big-industry named competitors such as Walmart and Albertson’s all poured resources into things like online shopping services, home delivery, autonomous vehicles, sophisticated shopping apps and strategic partnerships to enhance their appeal to consumers. Which of these will prove to help sustain the grocery store business model?
If you’d like to see what the West Melbourne location has to offer, please visit Lucky’s Market website.
Store closures in Florida
- Colonial Landing
- Coral Springs
- Hunter’s Creek
- Neptune Beach
- North Naples
- Oakland Park
- Ormond Beach
- Panama City
- South Downtown
- St. Petersburg
- Winter Park