Already-distressed grocers like Bi-Lo Holdings and Fresh Market were already dealing with the threat of increased competition from Amazon when Hurricane Irma swept through and hammered them. Apollo Global Management reportedly has extended a 6% unsecured $50mm bridge loan to Fresh Market to help keep it afloat. Meanwhile Bi-Lo is advisored to the hilt and seems headed towards some kind of restructuring. Tops Friendly Markets also has secured debt trading at distressed levels. While Kroger announced somewhat flat guidance going forward, it acknowledged an expected fall in earnings as price wars heat up with Amazon and foreign encroachers like Aldi and Lidl; it also announced that it hired Goldman Sachs to explore a sale of its convenience store business. While the stock traded up on the news, it is still down nearly 37% since the WholeFoods news. There will be winners and losers in this space and it seems increasingly likely to shake out quickly.
That's right, Germans. They're coming. And we're not referring to Christopher Nolan's bada$$-looking Summer flick, Dunkirk (video). We're talking about Lidl and Aldi, both of which are planning to expand in the US - a prospect that will surely cloud/crowd the grocery space and may push deflated food prices even further downward. Little known fact: there are currently 38k grocery stores in America and the average margin is only 1.25% to 1.5%. Insane.