Lowe's Food Stores operates a chain of more than 100 supermarkets in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The stores offer traditional supermarket fare, including fresh meat, seafood, deli, and bakery departments, in addition to natural foods and supplements. The regional grocery chain's Lowe's-Foods-to-Go program lets customers shop online and either pick up their groceries at their local Lowe's Food store or have them delivered. The company's Just$ave division operates more than 15 discount food stores in North Carolina, as well as more than half a dozen fuel stations. Founded in 1954, Lowe's Food Stores is owned by food wholesaler Alex Lee.
Lowe's Food Stores' rang up an estimated $1.2 billion in sales in fiscal 2011 (ends September) vs. about $1.25 billion the previous year.
In the aftermath of the recent great recession and in the face of increased competition from low-priced Wal-Mart, Lowe's has been working to rebuild revenues. To cater to the thrifty and economically distressed, in 2011 the company rebranded an existing store in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, as Just$ave, its newest banner. Referred to by the company as Lowe's Food Stores' "frugal cousin," the Just$ave format focuses on low prices by featuring store brands such as Lowe's Foods, Better Valu, and Top Care, and it helps to keep dollars within the community by selling locally grown produce. Lowe's Food Stores chain has also been busy tweaking its store base and exiting certain markets, including Charlotte, North Carolina. To that end, Lowe's and rival Harris Teeter Supermarkets swapped stores in the Carolinas in mid-2012. Lowe's sold 10 of its supermarkets in the Carolinas in exchange for six Harris Teeter stores in western North Carolina and an additional $26.5 million. (Both chains reopened the acquired stores under their respective banners.) The company's retreat from the Charlotte market, may be related to the rumored pending arrival of Publix, a formidable competitor. – less