1. Business

Winn-Dixie trying to stand out by lowering prices of staple items

In an effort to stand out in a crowded grocery scene, Winn-Dixie is lowering prices on staple items that people might keep in their pantries. The pricing starts this week. LARA CERRI | Times
Published Oct. 29, 2015

Florida residents have a lot of grocery shopping options.

Publix is king, with buy-one-get-one deals and top-notch customer service. Greenies and foodies can hit Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or the Fresh Market. Walmart sells everything and is sometimes cheaper. Save-A-Lot or Aldi also offer deep discounts.

In an effort to stand out from the pack, Winn-Dixie unveiled a new price-reduction program Wednesday that aims to save customers money on the staples they keep in their pantry.

The new pricing system, which began this week, will permanently reduce the cost of nearly 1,500 items sold in all Winn-Dixie stores, even when they're not on sale, said Ian McLeod, president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, the Jacksonville-based parent company of Winn-Dixie.

"We have intently listened to our customers and conducted research that has shown our customers are constantly looking for lower prices, wherever they shop," McLeod said. "We firmly believe we've taken a big step in meeting the expectations that our customers have put on us to offer the very best in quality and value as a grocer they can trust."

It's an effort that may help Winn-Dixie find its place in Florida's highly competitive grocery scene, said Steve Kirn, executive director of the David F. Miller Retailing Education and Research Center at the University of Florida.

"They've got to do something to distinguish themselves from the big guys, Publix and Walmart," Kirn said. "You can't just be 'almost a Publix.' You need to have something else to say.

"This gives them a chance to carve out a sliver in the marketplace where they can have an identity," he added. "It's a way to get a customer's attention and provide them with a viable alternative. People could come to the store to save on staple items but pick up a steak or something in the meantime. But the deals have to be worth it to get them there."

McLeod said prices will be reduced by almost 20 percent on items like Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and Domino granulated sugar. Some items' prices will be reduced as much as 53 percent. All reduced items are "family favorites," a classification given to items Winn-Dixie customers purchase regularly.

Shoppers will be able to pick out these products by new signs in the stores and by special price tags. They also will still occasionally go on sale.

Winn-Dixie has struggled in the past to keep up with Publix in terms of customer service, and its prices are usually more expensive than the deep discount supermarkets like Save-A-Lot, Aldi or even dollar store chains that have begun to sell groceries. Southeastern Grocers announced it would lay off 250 workers in seven states, including some at its headquarters in Jacksonville, earlier this month.

Winn-Dixie stores have frozen prices in the past, where certain merchandise price tags won't change for 10 weeks or more during specific promotions. But this is permanent.

"Many of our competitors are following existing models they believe are best for their business. We expect to see our customers shop more with us because we're giving them what they've said is most important — lower prices," McLeod said.


  1. Bins filled with products move on conveyor belts at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Ruskin. Amazon just announced it will open a similar center in Auburndale, Fla. (Times | 2018) Tampa Bay Times
    The new center will span more than 1 million square feet and be No. 11 in the state.
  2. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times
A shot taken on June 4, 2019 during the 12-week demolition of the Harborview Center which began in April on the corner of Cleveland Street and Osceola Avenue in downtown Clearwater. The project is a key part of the city's roughly $64-million Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment project. Will residents move downtown once it is done? DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    “It’s our biggest challenge,” one city official said.
  3. Although people with insurance pay nothing when they get their flu shot, many don’t realize that their insurers foot the bill — and that those companies will recoup their costs eventually.
    Federal law requires health insurers to cover the vaccines at no charge to patients, but the companies eventually recoup the cost through higher premiums.
  4. The Overstreet house at 1018 S. Frankland Rd. is seen in this Dec. 2018 photo from Google Earth. Google Earth
    The family says the house took two years too long to build and claims the contractor subbed high-end parts for low-quality materials.
  5. Port Tampa Bay president and CEO Paul Anderson. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times (2017)]
    Port commissioners approved the raise after a year with milestone achievements on several fronts.
  6. A rendering of the proposed Edge Collective in St. Petersburg's Edge District. Storyn Studio for Architecture
    The "Hall on Central'' will be managed by Tampa’s Hall on Franklin team.
  7. Mango Plaza in Seffner has sold for $12.49 million. The plaza is anchored by a Publix and Walmart, making it attractive to a Baltimore investment firm. (Continental Realty Corporation)
    Mango Plaza’s new owners are based out of Baltimore.
  8. The Southernmost Point marker in Key West. CAROL TEDESCO  |  AP
    The travel website put the Florida Keys on its list of places not to visit.
  9. Philanthropist David Straz Jr. and his wife Catherine celebrate in March after he advanced into the Tampa mayoral run-off election. Mr. Straz has died at the age of 77. TAILYR IRVINE  |  Times
    The former mayoral candidate who lost to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor earlier this year, died Monday while on a fishing trip in Homosassa. His name, and legacy, are integral to Tampa.
  10. The Chick-fil-A on Dale Mabry in South Tampa. The company announced Monday it will no longer donate to The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
    The groups have faced criticism for their opposition to same-sex marriage.