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Why Is Harris Teeter So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

Harris Teeter, Your Neighborhood Food Market

 

As costs continue to rise in every industry, consumers are looking for ways to save money.

Those who shop at Harris Teeter supermarkets may find that their grocery bills have steadily climbed.

The increase in prices may make you wonder if the change is temporary or there to stay.

Examining the reasons behind the price increases may give a clue.

Here are 10 reasons Harris Teeter is expensive.

 

Why Is Harris Teeter So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

 

1. High Labor Costs

Labor cost and overhead cost

 

One of the reasons Harris Teeter is expensive is its high labor costs.

Like any other grocery store, Harris Teeter has several employees who make it possible to buy groceries at the store.

They have cashiers, managers, stockers, bakers, and even personal shoppers.

Unlike some grocery store chains which barely pay a liveable wage, Harris Teeter pays their employees above the national average.

The average pay for a grocery associate is $14.55 an hour.

A barista at their stores earns, on average, $13.11.

Their personal shoppers earn $12.69 an hour.

Since they pay their employees more than other grocery stores, they have higher labor costs.

This affects the price of their merchandise because it means the grocery store has higher operating costs.

The way that most businesses deal with high operating costs is to raise prices.

While consumers will have to pay more for their groceries, they’re also supporting the grocery store workers.

Since Harris Teeter already pays their employees higher wages, they’re likely more open to increasing wages again in the future.

If so, then you might expect their prices to rise even more.

Regardless, Harris Teeter is expensive because they pay their workers higher pay than other grocery stores.

 

2. No Price Match Deals

price match

 

Another reason Harris Teeter is expensive is that they don’t have any price match deals.

Some grocery stores, like Walmart, have a policy where they will match the price of another store that has a cheaper price.

While it doesn’t cover every item in the store, in most cases, Walmart will honor the lower price.

For Walmart, even a cheap sale is still money in the bank.

This allows its customers to save even more money if they’re vigilant enough.

That isn’t the case at Harris Teeter.

They don’t have a price match deal.

Essentially, the price that you see at their stores is the price that you get.

While this does make shopping a bit easier since you don’t have to scan all the items in other stores, it also means there are fewer opportunities for you to save money.

If you want a deal, you have to wait for Harris Teeter to run a sale.

The good news is that Harris Teeter does run sales often.

Therefore, even if you can’t save money through a price match, you might be able to lessen your burden on your grocery bill by paying attention to sales.

That said, if you find an item at their grocery store and you know it’s cheaper elsewhere, then you’re stuck paying the higher price at Harris Teeter.

They won’t mark it down.

Because Harris Teeter doesn’t price match, buying things from them can be quite expensive compared to somewhere that does price match.

 

3. Pharmacy

HARRIS TEETER - Sign on grocery store exterior

 

One of the advantages of shopping at Harris Teeter is that it has a pharmacy.

Unfortunately, this is also another reason that the store is expensive.

Pharmacies are ideal in grocery stores because it makes picking up medications more convenient.

Customers can put in an order for a prescription, then go about their shopping and pick up their medication when they’re done.

Harris Teeter knows that by having a pharmacy in their store, they’re going to attract more customers to their store.

Even people who didn’t intend to buy anything at the store might pick up an item or two while they’re waiting for their medication.

The pharmacy also benefits because it also has more customers to serve.

People are more likely going to want to use a pharmacy where they can also get their other errands done at the same time than one that’s just a standalone pharmacy.

It’s more convenient and efficient for consumers who already live busy lives.

The problem with having a pharmacy in a grocery store is that it does cause prices to rise slightly.

The store has to pay for the pharmacy’s utility bills.

In the case of Harris Teeter, their pharmacists are also their employees.

The pharmacy isn’t a third-party pharmacy that’s renting space in Harris Teeter.

Harris Teeter pays pharmacy managers $115,374 a year on average.

Those sorts of costs need covering.

Raised prices are how they cover them.

In addition, pharmacies take up space.

That’s space Harris Teeter could use to sell more products.

Since they can’t, they’re also missing out on potential revenue.

To cover that loss, they also have increased prices.

Harris Teeter is expensive because of its pharmacy and its associated costs.

 

4. Floral Department

Bouquet of colorful roses and other flowers at the entry to flower shop

 

Besides a pharmacy, Harris Teeter also has a floral department.

This makes Harris Teeter more expensive because, the more departments that a store has, the higher its costs.

That’s because they need to buy more inventory to cover those departments and hire more employees to run them.

In the case of a floral department, Harris Teeter has to take on several investments to ensure their flowers are worth buying.

For one, they need an irrigation system to keep the flowers and plants fresh and healthy.

That means they not only need to invest in the correct plumbing, but they also have water costs to contend with.

If the Harris Teeter store is in a place where water is especially expensive, it could add a significant cost to the store which results in higher prices.

Another cost of the floral department is that if the store brings in specialty flowers or plants, they might need UV lamps to stay healthy.

That adds extra energy costs as well as investment in equipment that the store has to take on.

Then there’s the cost of flowers themselves.

Since it’s unlikely that Harris Teeter grows its own flowers and plants in another facility, they usually import their plants from other distributors.

That’s another cost of running a floral department since they need to import flowers regularly throughout the season.

If their florists are facing a lot of demand, then they may be selling their flowers at higher prices.

Since Harris Teeter is buying them at higher prices, they’re going to be selling them at higher prices.

Harris Teeter is expensive because of their floral department.

 

5. Bakery

Delicious loaves of bread

 

Another department that Harris Teeter has is a bakery.

While grocery stores can sell baked goods, not all of them have an actual bakery on the premises.

Harris Teeter does.

This makes the store more expensive for a few different reasons.

One reason is that they have to hire employees who know how to bake.

Baking isn’t easy.

It requires a careful understanding of food chemistry.

Putting too much of one ingredient into a dish, stirring too long, or even leaving it alone too long or too little can all ruin a baked good.

Because it’s complex, most grocery stores like Harris Teeter invest in a quality baker.

They then oversee several other employees who may not have as much experience as the actual baker.

Although the store has many recipes for the bakers to follow to the letter, baking is never an exact science.

Besides the cost of paying the baker, another expense that comes with the baking department is the ingredients.

If Harris Teeter wants its bakery department to shine, it will invest in high-quality ingredients.

It does this for some of its baked goods.

For example, you can order specialty cakes at Harris Teeter.

This enables you to have a custom-made cake for your needs from the bakers at the store.

You can order it online, then pick it up at the store when it’s ready.

This is ideal for birthday cakes, wedding cakes, or even just a general cake to mark a special occasion.

Because of this extra service, the bakers have to set aside time and ingredients to make it in addition to the usual goods that they make for the store to sell.

Since it costs them time and money, those specialty cakes are more expensive than the standard cakes that the bakery makes.

Harris Teeter is expensive because of the costs added to the store from the bakery department.

 

6. Pet Department

veterinary store for animals with toys

 

Not every store has a pet department.

Harris Teeter does which also adds to its cost of operations, making the store more expensive.

You can find an abundance of different pet supplies at Harris Teeter.

They don’t stick to just cats and dogs either.

Owners of birds and fish can also find plenty of supplies for their pets.

This makes the store expensive because they have to spend more money on inventory.

If they limited themselves to dogs and cats, that would limit their costs while still serving the majority of their consumers.

However, because they want to ensure that they have something for everyone, they take on the extra costs to sell bird and fish supplies, too.

Their products range from food to toys to even healthcare supplements.

Since this is another department in their grocery store, they also need more workers to stock and man the area.

If anyone has questions about a specific pet product, for example, there’s someone around to assist them.

Since this requires more labor, it adds more labor costs.

Harris Teeter is expensive because of the costs their pet department adds to its store.

 

7. Subsidiary Fees

Wooden Blocks with the text: Fees

 

Although Harris Teeter started as an independent grocery store chain, it eventually became a subsidiary of Kroger.

This means that Kroger owns the chain, but the grocery store is able to keep its name.

It also runs most of its operations on its own, but with extreme oversight by Kroger.

It also means that Kroger has a say in the type of pricing that the store sets.

If Kroger wants to make Harris Teeter a chain of upscale supermarkets, for example, then it’s going to tell the stores to increase their prices.

Since it’s a subsidiary, Harris Teeter has no choice but to do so.

There are also subsidiary fees that the chain has to pay to the Kroger Corporation.

The amount is something the two companies likely agreed to when Kroger offered to buy Harris Teeter.

In this type of relationship, Harris Teeter will have to pay Kroger either a set price that they agreed to or a percentage of their sales.

In most cases, stores end up having to pay a percentage of their sales.

Not only does this ensure that the corporation gets a large cut of profits when the chain performs well, but it also protects the chain during periods when they’re not performing as well.

Since this is an amount of money that Harris Teeter has to pay either monthly or annually, they have to keep a close eye on their profits.

They still need to generate enough revenue after paying their subsidiary fees to Kroger to remain in business.

To ensure that happens, they have expensive prices.

This allows them to pay what they owe to Kroger while still having enough money to pay their employees and invest in the business.

Harris Teeter is expensive because it’s a subsidiary of Kroger.

 

8. Food Costs

Frame of organic food. Fresh raw vegetables

 

One of the major reasons Harris Teeter is expensive is its focus on high-quality products.

That means its food costs are usually quite high.

Harris Teeter takes produce from farmers who plant high-quality crops.

The reason they’re high-quality is that the fruits and vegetables are usually larger, juicier, more attractive looking, or provide more nutrients than others of the same type.

To get those sorts of results, farmers have to spend a good amount of money on their crops.

They have to invest in quality fertilizers to nourish the soil which then nourishes the plants.

They have to invest in enough water to keep their plants hydrated.

They also have to keep them safe from pests and animals.

For organic farmers, this becomes even more costly since they’re unable to use traditional pesticides.

All these factors add money to the production of their crops.

Fertilizers, especially chemical ones, have become more expensive as of late due to the problems in the global supply chain and ripples from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drought has forced farmers to import more water to nourish their crops.

That means higher costs on water.

With labor shortages and other problems plaguing farmers, all their produce comes at higher prices.

That’s because they have to cover the expenses they’ve taken on to grow their crops.

As a result, Harris Teeter takes on higher costs to acquire their produce.

To make up for those costs, they have to sell their produce at higher prices.

Food costs are already expensive because of several problems afflicting agriculture.

The fact that Harris Teeter imports high-quality produce means they’re spending even more money than other grocery stores.

Harris Teeter is expensive because of the high expense associated with high-quality food.

 

9. High-Quality Products

high quality

 

Food isn’t the only thing that Harris Teeter spends a lot of money on.

They also invest in bringing high-quality products to their stores.

It’s not uncommon to find big-name brands lining their shelves.

Harris Teeter knows its customers want to buy products that will last them a long time and do the job they’re supposed to do.

High-quality products cost more to make.

This requires manufacturers to use the best materials to make their products.

It also sometimes means the product stays a bit longer on the production line to go through more quality assurance measures.

Since these products take longer to make and cost more money in their production, manufacturers sell them at higher prices.

Harris Teeter then buys them at these higher prices and stocks them.

To make up for their expenses, they have to sell the product at a higher price.

The ultimate result is that customers from Harris Teeter get what they pay for.

Since they’re paying higher prices, they’re also getting products that are of higher quality.

These products are usually more durable than their lower-quality cousins, so they tend to last longer.

That means the customer will be less likely to buy the product again any time soon.

That impacts the price as well since Harris Teeter has to make the most money on that single sale rather than expect repeat purchases.

Harris Teeter is expensive because of its focus on high-quality products.

 

10. Inflation

economic inflation

 

There’s no question that inflation is also making the prices at Harris Teeter jump.

Experts have seen food costs increase by 9% since 2021.

Since food costs are on the rise, they know that grocery bills are also going to be higher.

The current estimate is that grocery stores are going to continue to increase prices by 5% or 6%.

This means that if you buy groceries for a family of four and it costs you between $200 and $300, you’re going to end up paying $500 until inflation starts to come down.

The problem with inflation is that it doesn’t always go down.

Sometimes the prices are there to stay and wages and other costs have to change to meet the new prices.

Since many connect inflation with the economic instability that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, they believe that inflation will eventually decrease.

Until that point, however, the prices at Harris Teeter will remain higher than they normally are for a time.

 

Conclusion

Harris Teeter is an expensive grocery store compared to others like it.

They have a focus on high-quality products and food which drives up their costs.

They also invest in their employees by giving them higher wages and have several departments which add to their operational costs.

All these factors make the grocery store more expensive.


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