The sale of the company that owns Acme and four other grocery chains to a private equity firm was completed last week, and at least one analyst sees that as a good sign for Philly’s hometown grocery stores.
The Inquirer reported that the new owner, Cerberus Capital, will likely pump money into improving the stores, rather than shut a bunch down and strip down the others.
“My guess is the new owners are going to put money into stores, work on pricing, beef up the Acme brand,” said Jonathan Feeney, managing director at Janney Montgomery Scott L.L.C. in Philadelphia. “The main thing they need to deliver is consistency across the brand.”
There’s also some information about Acme’s future that can be gleaned from this Chicago Tribune report about the sale of Jewel-Osco, another chain that was bundled in the deal. That newspaper said Jewel, traditionally the dominant Chicago grocery chain, has faced a lot of the same problems as Acme. In a Q&A with William Emmons, the new president that took over Friday, Emmons said Jewel would work on improving pricing and the customer experience and had no plans to close any stores.
“We took over the business on Friday and immediately made a decision to adjust prices across all Jewel-Osco stores on many regularly purchased items, like milk and bread. We want to show customers, from day one, that Jewel-Osco is serious about winning their business — and that begins with offering fair and competitive prices.”
While these moves may not be the answer that some commenters here would have liked – i.e. sell off the land and build mixed-use – it could at least mean they have a shot at earning back our business.