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H-E-B Says No More Central Markets In Houston

Houston Retail

H-E-B is aggressively expanding across the Houston area, but none of the new locations will be a Central Market, the grocer's upscale concept.

"There will be zero expansion of Central Market in Houston," H-E-B Director of Real Estate Lisa Helfman told Bisnow. "Everyone thinks they want a Central Market, but they also want soda and toilet paper."

H-E-B studies what people buy and how they shop, which are different. Helfman said instead of expanding the Central Market concept, H-E-B will be tailoring up its H-E-B locations. Central Markets tend to be more expensive to develop and to operate, Helfman said. 

H-E-B is heavily focused on Houston. Helfman said that with such a dominant market share already established in San Antonio and Austin, there is not much H-E-B can do in those cities that it is not already doing. In Houston, H-E-B recently surpassed Kroger and Walmart to earn the top market share, but it is still in the low 20% range, Helfman said. 

"In Houston, we still have a lot of holes," Helfman said. "I think we're the most aggressive retailer in Houston. We are full steam ahead."

Helfman has ushered in a new way of thinking about real estate for H-E-B. In Houston, she is focused on urban sites. H-E-B is working with Midway on a forthcoming mixed-use location in Buffalo Heights. The grocer is also building a location in The Heights, Meyerland Plaza and is in talks to buy a tract for another location in Upper Kirby. 

Last year, H-E-B opened two new stores in Houston. This year, H-E-B plans to debut six more. 

  • H-E-B in Richmond near the Brazos Town Center at 23500 Berry Parkway will open in early 2018.

  • H-E-B in Fulshear at the northwest corner of Fulshear Bend Drive and FM 1463 will open in early 2018.

  • H-E-B in the Heights at 2300 North Shepherd Drive will open in early fall 2018.

  • H-E-B Bellaire at 5130 Cedar will open in the spring.

  • H-E-B at the corner of FM 2920 and Gosling near Spring is expected to open in the summer.

  • H-E-B's location inside Mont Belvieu Marketplace is expected to open in the spring at the corner of Interstate 10 and FM 3180/Eagle Drive.

Related Topics: Central Market, Lisa Helfman, H-E-B