H-E-B’s competitors in Texas come in all shapes and sizes, and the company has succeeded by refusing to adopt one-size-fits-all types of responses with a couple of recent examples to reinforce the point.
With more Walmarts — particularly Supercenters — in Texas than in any other state in the U.S., H-E-B has had to find ways to compete simply as a matter of survival.
As grocery industry watchers know, H-E-B has done much more than survive. Among the chain’s responses to the world’s largest retailer has been the development of its Plus (supercenter) format. Core fresh categories (meat, produce and seafood) are given expanded space and the store layout features a number of destinations, including Entertainment (consumer electronics, etc.), Texas Back Yard (barbecues, garden tools, flowers, ceramics, etc.), Healthy Living, Baby and Toddler, Pet and Apparel.
H-E-B opened its largest Plus store to date last week, a 182,000 square-foot unit in San Antonio. The store, which is close to San Antonio destinations including Sea World and Six Flags Fiesta Texas, offers goods likely to appeal to tourists as well as those products typically found in a Plus store.
In another grocery vertical, H-E-B finds itself getting ready to go up against Trader Joe’s, which is opening stores in cities across Texas. While denying any connection to Trader Joe’s, H-E-B has recently introduced a new line of very TJ-like products called Primo Picks, including a sub-$3 bottle of wine and Queso Pablano Chicken Sausage.
“We’ve been working on this for over a year,” H-E-B spokesperson Cyndy Garza-Roberts told CultureMap Houston. “We’re always looking to introduce new and different items to our customers.”