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Ahold Delhaize-owned Stop & Shop said Friday "a $140 million capital investment in its New York City stores to improve the shopping experience for local customers with a focus on adding thousands of new items from around the globe to ensure the assortment at each store reflects the diversity of the neighborhood it serves."

According to the announcement, "Store remodels will deliver a fresh new look and feel for customers and will also showcase value with deal bins and the addition of the Flashfood program which offers fresh foods at up to 50% off. Stop & Shop’s Bay Plaza store in the Bronx is the first to be remodeled and will celebrate its Grand Reopening with a ribbon cutting on June 10, with additional store upgrades across the boroughs taking place over the next two years. In addition to the investment in its stores, Stop & Shop has committed $1 million to fight food insecurity across NYC this year through several local initiatives and community partnerships."

The press release points out that "Stop & Shop began operating in New York City more than two decades ago and currently operates 25 stores in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island – and home delivery in all five boroughs."

KC's View:

The first thing I wonder about is the impetus for this move.  Is it just a sense that the stores are out of date and need refreshing?  Or is there something else going on here?

Kroger has announced its plan to move into the northeast with a pure-play e-grocery model, but has not said where in the northeast.  I wouldn't have bet on the New York City metropolitan area, but it is possible that Stop & Shop is worried about a bigger competitor coming and starting to steal market share.  Better to play offense than defense.

I cannot recall the last time I was in any of these NYC Stop & Shop stores, so I have a limited frame of reference from which to work.  But if those stores are anything like the Connecticut Stop & Shop stores with which I am familiar … well, they have some work to do.  My experience is that those stores are just good enough, but never transformative, never exciting.  There are a couple of them within miles of where a new Wegmans is scheduled to be built, and I suspect they'll be in a world of hurt when that store opens.

Good enough rarely is good enough these days.  Depending on how things play out, Stop & Shop may find that out the hard way.