H-E-B has had a busy 2023 so far.
The retailer that’s beloved by Texans from Orange to Odessa has continued to press its advantage in the Lone Star State this year by opening several supermarkets, including the latest installments in its recently launched push into the Dallas-Fort Worth market under its main banner. Over the next two years, the grocer plans to open several more H-E-B stores in the market, including in the communities of McKinney, Frisco and Mansfield.
This past summer, the grocer opened a store in Austin that paid tribute to a famous music venue as well as a baked goods factory that formerly operated on the site — highlighting the company’s ability to incorporate local history and culture into its locations as it expands.
But what really stands out about H-E-B’s recent growth is not just the number of stores and facilities but the diverse array of formats it's expanding, as well.
The grocer rebranded its convenience stores as Fresh Bites — a name meant to emphasize fresh food and not just fuel — and opened its first new store under the name in April. Meanwhile, its discount format, Joe V’s, is set to open a location this fall and two more over the next two years as shoppers continue to prioritize low prices.
H-E-B has also continued to open dedicated e-commerce facilities to help it fulfill pickup and delivery orders across its operating regions. It opened two such locations in 2023, including its first standalone fulfillment center, which at 100,000 square feet is also twice the size of any of its other centers. That makes seven online fulfillment centers the company has opened since debuting the concept in 2018.
Mapping H-E-B's store openings and announcements so far in 2023
H-E-B also has in its arsenal its large-scale specialty format, Central Market; its H-E-B Plus supercenters; two Hispanic grocery stores in Houston; and its Favor delivery service, which it acquired back in 2018.
Grocers across the U.S. are scaling and experimenting with alternative formats as they eye new markets and demographics. This includes Hy-Vee, which has several options ranging from a c-store chain to a wine and spirits outlet, and Schnuck Markets, which recently opened a scaled-down grocery store and a natural market.
The success of these alternative formats has been a mixed bag for retailers. But H-E-B’s expansion indicates their development will become a strategic priority for grocers as they look to grow in a highly competitive food retail landscape.