New entry into the Houston grocery store wars

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- There's a war playing out across Houston for your dollars at the grocery store. H-E-B waged another battle on Wednesday, opening up a 91,000 square foot store on San Felipe Street and Fountainview Drive.

The location represents another company providing more and more options to consumers. Experts at retail real estate brokerage Wulfe and Co. explained 32 new grocery stores are planned for greater Houston in 2015.

The influx showcases just how competitive the grocery store business can be in southeast Texas. Their numbers showed Walmart with the largest market share at 25.5 percent. Walmart is followed closely by H-E-B at 25.1 percent, and Kroger at 23.8 percent.

Eyewitness News spoke with Dr. Barbara Stewart, a University of Houston retail and consumer science professor. Dr. Stewart explained every company wants a piece of the action, saying even smaller chains like Trader's Joe or Aldi's plan to open more locations. She said most people spend about 10 percent of their income at grocery stores. They run on small profit margins and must stand out to consumers.

"They need to offer something different, something local that becomes my grocery store ... as opposed to large and unfriendly. They may do it by services such as offering prepared food, a florist, or even a bank. All of these are ways to entice the consumers to shop at a particular store," said Dr. Stewart. "People will always eat. Whether we've over-purchased in terms of real estate for grocery stores .. only time will tell."

H-E-B opened an in-store restaurant at their new location called Table 57, named for its zip code location. The store opened to the public Wednesday morning. null
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