Apr 25, 2022 - Business

Walmart, Harris Teeter top Raleigh's grocery wars, but Wegmans is rising

outside of a harris teeter
Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Walmart and Harris Teeter remain the top grocery destinations in the Raleigh area, but New York-based Wegmans has gained traction two years after opening its first store in the region.

Driving the news: ​​21.1% of grocery spending in the Raleigh metro last year was at Walmart, according to new data released by sales-tracking firm Chain Store Guide. Harris Teeter came in second at 20.3%.

  • However, both companies saw their market share decrease in the past year.

Why it matters: The Triangle's surging population has made it one of the more competitive grocery markets in the country, Roger Beahm, director of Wake Forest University's Retail Learning Labs, tells Axios.

Data: Chain Store Guides, LLC; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

Details: Florida grocer Publix and New York's Wegmans are the two biggest entrants to the Triangle in the past few years. They also have similar price points to that of local favorite Harris Teeter.

  • Publix, with six stores in the area, has a 4% market share.
  • Wegmans had three stores open during the 2021 reporting period, giving it 5.1% market share. It opened a fourth store in Wake Forest.
  • North Carolina-based grocer Food Lion has seen its market share fall from 17.2% to 13.8% in the past two years.
The outside of the Wegmans grocery store off Wake Forest Road in Raleigh.
Wegmans, a N.Y.-based grocery, has gained a foothold in the Triangle. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

What they're saying: "Wegmans has had a really strong performance, especially when you divide their sales dollars by the number of stores," Beahm tells Axios. "They are the second leading retailer on a per-store basis, second only to Costco."

  • Wegmans, however, has scaled back its plans in the Triangle somewhat, canceling a second store in Cary and delaying construction on a store in Holly Springs.
  • "Due to the rapid growth we've seen in e-commerce in that area, we have been able to serve a much larger customer base than we originally anticipated," Wegmans spokesperson Laura Camera told Axios. "This coupled with our growth plans in other regions is the reason the timeline has been pushed out."
  • Camera added that Wegmans doesn't have plans to build more stores in the Triangle.

Flashback: In 2018, grocery giant Kroger decided to close all of its stores in the Triangle, citing too much competition. It converted several of those stores into Harris Teeters, which it also owns.

Of note: Trader Joe's and The Fresh Market both have less than 1% of the area's market share. However, they both have a smaller footprint than other area grocery stores.

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