Mar 4, 2024 - Business

Hy-Vee eyes expansion in Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky

the inside of the hy-vee grimes

The inside of the Grimes Hy-Vee. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

Despite slowed expansion plans, Hy-Vee still intends to build more stores in the South, according to Progressive Grocer.

Why it matters: Hy-Vee is one of the largest employers in Iowa, hiring thousands of both retail and white-collar employees.

  • But the grocery chain has also faced a slew of negative press in recent years following layoffs and controversial comments by former CEO Randy Edeker in 2022.

State of play: Inflation, construction and inventory-carrying costs have slowed expansion plans, CEO Jeremy Gosch told the Progressive Grocer.

  • But its Cumming distribution center is expected to start receiving products in June, while the adjacent Fast & Fresh opens next month.
  • Once the distribution center is open, expect Hy-Vee to expand its presence southeast to Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky, Gosch said.

Yes, but: Don't expect Hy-Vee to build brick-and-mortar stores coast to coast.

  • The company is focusing on its brands that don't have the Hy-Vee name, including online organic and natural foods service "WholeLotta Good" and "RedBox," which offers online health consultations and prescription deliveries.

The intrigue: The next big thing is retail media, Edeker, who will step down as Hy-Vee's executive board chair in July, told Progressive Grocer.

  • Retailers like Hy-Vee sell advertising strategies to companies wanting to reach their customers. In turn, Hy-Vee gives them aggregated information on customer purchasing behavior, digital ads and in-store displays.
  • That money will be used to help lower the price of groceries and some day, Edeker predicts that, "grocery will be eradicated, and groceries will almost be given away for media dollars."

What's next: Expect the company to keep experimenting after Edeker's departure, Gosch said.


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