Who Will Win the Grocery War: H-E-B or Walmart?

The competition is getting fierce in San Antonio.

By Brenda SalinasJuly 7, 2015 10:04 am

There are very few competitors that can cross swords with the world’s largest retailer and survive. But one Texas company which has done combat with grocery giant Walmart for six years or so, may very well be winning the war.

That’s right: the battle between H-E-B and Walmart is heating up. Neal Morton of the San Antonio Express-News stopped by the Texas Standard to talk about this growing rivalry.

On why Texas is a good setting:

“Well certainly San Antonio provides a nice backdrop considering it’s H-E-B’s hometown. But Texas in general provides a pretty growing grocery market for both companies. as you see with Whole Foods, Aldi, WinCo, a lot of grocers are paying attention to Texas and Walmart certainly hasn’t trailed in that regard.”

On the tactics used to fight each other:

“The less hostile one is simply sending price checkers into each competitor’s store. They scan prices and make sure that they can beat the prices on a total basket that people shop every day and week. They also buy out a lot of real estate across San Antonio….they’ll often by real estate to develop a new store as soon as possible or just hold it to keep it unusable.”

On the advantage H-E-B has over Walmart:

“The key success for H-E-B is its manufacturing division. Unlike other grocery stores, they produce market research and eventually sell their own brand items. While Walmart certainly has its great value items, not a lot of people buy them unless they are trying to save a few bucks. With H-E-B, folks really appreciate and love the H-E-B brand items.”

Listen to the full interview in the player above.