Harris Teeter Supermarkets has groceries to health and beauty items in the bag. The regional supermarket operator boasts a chain of more than 225 supermarkets in the Carolinas, half a dozen other southeastern and mid-Atlantic states, and the District of Columbia. The majority of the grocery stores house pharmacies and feature niceties such as sushi bars, gourmet delis, and cafes. To better compete with its high-end rivals, Harris Teeter operates a pair of concept stores in North Carolina called 201Central, which feature an international variety of wine, beer, specialty foods, and other selected merchandise. In 2014 Harris Teeter Supermarkets was acquired by grocery giant Kroger.
Kroger, the nation's #1 traditional grocery company, acquired Harris Teeter in January 2014 in a deal valued at about $2.5 billion (or $49.38 per share). Kroger, which had a slim presence in Harris Teeter's markets, intends to keep and expand the Harris Teeter brand as a subsidiary. Harris Teeter remains based in Matthews, North Carolina.
North Carolina, home to about two-thirds of Harris Teeter's stores, is the grocery chain's largest market, followed by Virginia and South Carolina, with 38 and 15 stores, respectively.
In addition to its grocery stores, Harris Teeter operates grocery, frozen food, and perishable distribution centers in Greensboro and Indian Trail, North Carolina, as well as the Hunter Farms milk and ice cream plant in High Point, North Carolina. The High Point plant supplies Harris Teeter stores with milk, yogurt, and ice cream.
Harris Teeter's fiscal 2013 (ended September) sales totaled $4.7 billion, up from $4.5 billion the previous year.
Before and after the acquisition by Kroger, Harris Teeter's retail footprint is growing. Its management believes that its strategy of opening additional stores within close proximity to existing stores, and any similar new additions in the future, has a strategic benefit of enabling the grocery chain to capture sales and expand market share as the markets it serves continue to grow.
The upscale grocery chain is feeling the heat as competitors, such as Publix, Whole Foods and Earth Fare, expand in its markets and lure away the grocer's customers. On the low end, discounters Wal-Mart and Target are chipping away at its market as well. In response, Harris Teeter is continuing to broaden its lineup of organic and natural foods while touting value. (Harris Teeter sells about 830 natural and organic products. Earth Fare has 26,000.)
Mergers and Acquisitions
In fall 2013, Harris Teeter acquired seven Piggly Wiggly stores in South Carolina from Greenbax Enterprises, and later reopened them under the Harris Teeter banner. In June 2012, the company acquired 10 supermarkets in the central Carolinas from rival Lowes Food Stores, which in turn purchased six Harris Teeter stores in western North Carolina.
Harris Teeter Supermarkets (formerly Ruddick Corp.) reorganized in 2012 following the sale of Ruddick's industrial thread subsidiary, American & Efrid, in 2011. With the Harris Teeter supermarket chain its only business, Ruddick changed its name to Harris Teeter Supermarkets and its ticker symbol from RDK to HTSI in April 2012.