Retail News: El Rancho Supermercado has new ownership

The El Rancho at 5264 W 34th St, Houston, TX 77092 was originally a Randalls.

El Rancho Supermercado, which operates 8 locations throughout the Houston area, has new ownership, as reported by Winsight Grocery Business last week. The Garland-based Hispanic grocer was purchased by “Heritage Grocers Group” a company managed by Apollo Global. The chain entered Houston in 2018, shortly after Albertson’s agreed to purchase a share of El Rancho’s operations. The agreement with Albertsons was intended to help provide operational and property-based opportunities. Some of the programs we saw in Houston included stocking of Albertson’s private label items at El Rancho stores, and the company was given the first opportunity to take over Randalls locations as they closed. By the end of 2019, El Rancho had eight stores in Houston, four of them in former Randalls, one of which had been vacant since 1997. During this time, El Rancho elected to take over a single Tom Thumb store in Irving. Albertson’s private labels also dominated much of the dry grocery selection, with some items only available under the Signature Select brand. The report of the sale did not disclose if Heritage purchased the entire company or simply Albertson’s share, which was reported as 45% in a recent SEC filing. Visiting an El Rancho store a few days after the buyout was announced, it was noted that Albertson’s brand items were almost completely off the shelves, and what remained was on clearance. El Rancho house brands were still present and supplemented by Associated Wholesale Grocer’s Always Save, and C&S’s Best Yet. Heritage Grocers Group was formed after Apollo purchased two other Hispanic-focused grocers earlier this year. First was Tony’s Fresh Market, which operates in the Chicago area, and Cardenas Markets, which operates throughout the Southwest. The plan is to continue operating El Rancho as a separate company out of Garland. The behind-the-scenes combination of these chains is not dissimilar from El Super, owner of Fiesta and a direct competitor to Cardenas.