The competitive grocery landscape prompted numerous bankruptcies and acquisitions in 2018, along with consolidation in the meal kit space.

Some retailers bought companies that added to their services — Kroger purchased meal kit company HomeChef, and H-E-B acquired grocery delivery company Favor, among others.

Tops Markets and Southeastern Grocers each declared bankruptcy and restructured this year, and Supervalu sold its retail banners after being acquired by United Natural Foods Inc.

Several other acquisitions took place as well, including Lidl buying Best Market stores in New York and New York and SpartanNash buying Indiana chain Martin’s Super Markets.

The following timeline of Produce Retailer coverage takes you through some of the major developments this year.


Coborn’s to buy Hornbacher’s stores from Supervalu

By Ashley Nickle — Dec. 3

Coborn’s has agreed to purchase seven Hornbacher’s locations from Supervalu, which continues to sell its retail assets to focus on wholesale.

The stores being acquired — along with one additional location in development — are in the Fargo-Moorhead area, according to a news release. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.


SpartanNash to buy Martin’s Super Markets

By Ashley Nickle — Nov. 20

SpartanNash Co. plans to acquire Martin’s Super Markets, an independent chain that operates 21 stores in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan.

The company had more than $450 million in net sales for the fiscal year that ended in July, according to a news release.


Lidl acquires 27 Best Market stores in New York, New Jersey

By Ashley Nickle — Nov. 16

Discount retailer Lidl plans to purchase 27 Best Market stores in New York and New Jersey.

The deal is expected to close in the coming months, and the remodeling and conversion of the stores will begin next year, according to a news release.


Tops Markets proceeds with restructuring process, plans to close 10 stores

By Ashley Nickle — Sept. 4

Tops Markets will close 10 stores by the end of November as part of its restructuring process.

The company currently has 169 locations.

“The vast majority of our stores are profitable and we are seeing strong customer support continue to drive growth in these locations,” CEO Frank Curci said in a news release. “That said, there are a few stores that are not performing to our standards, due to a number of factors including location, store size, lack of visibility and lease costs. We are using the tools available to us through the court-supervised process to conduct an orderly wind-down of these stores.”


Shares soar on news UNFI will acquire Supervalu

By Ashley Nickle — July 26

United Natural Foods has agreed to purchase Supervalu for approximately $2.9 billion, less than one month before a proxy showdown was set to take place at a Supervalu’s annual shareholder meeting.

Supervalu shares soared from $19.45 on July 25 to $31.98 on July 26, after the news broke.

By the third year of the companies combining, UNFI could realize run-rate cost synergies of more than $175 million, according to a news release.


Chef’d burns through cash, halts operations

By Produce Retailer Staff — July 18

After being valued at roughly $160 million last year, Los Angeles-based meal kit startup Chef’d abruptly ceased operations July 16.

The company, which started as a non-subscription online model, launched a plan for rapid expansion into more than 1,000 retail locations by the end of 2018.


Southeastern Grocers emerges from bankruptcy

By Produce Retailer Staff — June 1

A leaner Southeastern Grocers, with plans for 100 store remodels and a new loyalty program, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring, in “record time.”

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company said it decreased overall debt by $600 million, including $522 million of debt exchanged for equity, according to a news release.


Kroger to invest up to $700 million for meal kit company Home Chef

By Produce Retailer Staff — May 23

Kroger Co. plans to spend up to $700 million to scale up its meal kit business with the acquisition of Chicago-based Home Chef.

The Cincinnati-based company said in a news release the initial transaction price is $200 million, with “future earnout payments of up to $500 million over five years ... contingent on achieving certain milestones.”


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