NEW YORK — Winn-Dixie Stores is generating annual sales of $500 per square foot at new stores and recent remodels — compared with $300 per square foot at earlier remodels — and is moving forward aggressively to install elements of those "transformational" stores at all new and remodeled locations, the company's top executive said at an investor presentation here this week.
The stores offer expanded perishables and prepared foods and a wide-open entrance that leads directly into the produce area.
Peter Lynch, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said he knew Winn-Dixie was on the right track with its transformational approach when a customer referred to one of the chain's stores as "that new 'Winn-Dixie Whole Foods.'"
"That's when I knew we had a winner," he said at the Barclays Capital Retail & Restaurants Conference.
The primary "transformational" model is found in new stores in Covington, La.; Margate, Fla.; and Mobile, Ala., that Winn-Dixie has opened over the past two years, Lynch said.
All three stores "took off like a rocket ship from Day One," he said, "and they have not slowed down since."
The company plans to use the same formula at new stores in Apopka, Fla., near Orlando, and one in its home base of Jacksonville that are scheduled to open around July 1.
Of the 250 stores Winn-Dixie has already remodeled, "some pieces [of the transformational format] can be easily replicated without spending a lot of money, and we're moving on that very, very rapidly," Lynch said.