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STORE SPACES

Stop & Shop in $70 million store update

BY Marianne Wilson

Stop & Shop is updating its brand to make grocery shopping easier.

The grocer unveiled a fresh, new look at 21 remodeled stores in the Hartford, Conn. area. The update, a $70 million capital investment, is designed to improve the in-store experience with a focus on more fresh and healthy options and improved digital solutions.

The Hartford market will serve as a test market for Stop & Shop to pilot such features as an in-store smoker, poke bowl and taqueria stations, and frictionless checkout, which will be used to inform updates across the company’s 400-plus stores during the next several years. Stop & Shop said it is also investing heavily to lower prices on thousands of high-purchase items and extending its assortment of items from store brands.

The company currently employs over 3,000 people in the Hartford region. The remodeled stores are expected to increase headcount by 7%.

“We recognize that our customer is changing, and we’re evolving our entire shopping experience to better serve them,” said Stop & Shop president Mark McGowan, president, Stop & Shop, which is owned by Ahold Delhaize. “They’re focused on getting back to their lives, juggling many responsibilities and we want to make grocery shopping even easier and faster for them. Hartford is the first step in our journey towards repositioning our brand for future success and in helping our communities enjoy better food and better lives.”

  • Stop & Shop’s update includes a new logo and modernized store format that reflects a customer-centric approach and commitment to reshape its shopping experience around the customer and their evolving needs. While updates vary by store location, highlights of the refreshed stores include the following:
  • New in-store experiences – Customers can create their own olive oil and vinegar blends like fig-infused balsamic at DIY machines. They can also fill up growlers at a kombucha fountain, or find out what food pairs best with a hoppy IPA at an informational craft beer kiosk;
  • Community Tables – In-store cafes will feature “community tables” made from reclaimed wood so neighbors can gather together with family-style seating. Digital community boards will also share local fundraisers and other events around town;
  • Curbside Pickup – Customers can pull up beneath solar-powered canopies to pick-up their online Peapod orders, which will soon be assembled by a miniature robotic warehouse thanks to a new partnership with Takeoff Technologies.
  • Frictionless checkout – Customers can save time when shopping in-store by using the SCAN IT! mobile app, which provides a frictionless checkout experience, with no waiting in line;
  • Focus on local, fresh, and quality – Stores will feature more space dedicated to fresh produce and more locally grown and produced items;
  • Smoker – Customers can choose from meats like brisket, pulled pork and baby back ribs slow cooked up to 14 hours over solid hickory wood; and
  • Poke bowl & taqueria stations – New stations will make it easy to grab fresh, healthy meals with global flavors to-go.

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Another retailer expands to fill Toys “R” Us void

BY Marianne Wilson

Go! Retail Group is hoping to attract more holiday toy shoppers this year.

Go! Retail, the largest pop-up retailer of calendars, toys and games in the U.S., has launched a new “Toys Express” concept in 13 former Toys “R” Us Express locations across the country. The toy destinations are part of the more than 750 stores that Go! Retail willl operate this holiday season. (The total also includes 80 year-round stores in malls and outlet centers.”

In addition, Go! Retail will expand toy and game stores to more than 400 of its locations.

“With the change in the retail landscape this year, Go! Retail Group is excited to expand our toy and game business to meet the needs of consumers nationwide,” said Marc Winkelman, CEO. “2018 is our 26thyear of operating pop-up stores. In partnership with our vendors and shopping center developers, Go! is uniquely positioned to expand our successful toy and game business to new locations.”

Go! Retail is the largest operator of pop-up stores in the world, with operations in six countries. The business started with calendars and has since grown up to include toys, games, t-shirts and books. Additionally, Go! owns and operates Fuego and Attic Salt, hipster brands that give a nod to the company’s hometown of  Austin, Texas.

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Giant Food Stores to launch new store concept

BY Marianne Wilson

Giant Food Stores is going urban — and smaller.

The 95-year-old supermarket company will debut a new store concept and banner, “Giant Heirloom Market,” designed for urban neighborhoods. The first location will open later this year, in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Giant has had a presence in Philadelphia since 2011, but the Heirloom Market store will be its first in the downtown area. The location is the first of several stores planned for the city.

The new store will be about 9,500 sq. ft., with a modern environment and an assortment of high-quality, fresh, seasonal, and flavor-focused foods and everyday essentials. Special features will include a “produce chef” who will prepare veggies and fruit on demand, local artisanal breads, and a vast array of plant-based foods. Also on the menu: sampling and demonstration. In addition, if customers need something that is not carried in the store, associates will help guide them to in-store iPads to order online.

The Heirloom Market format will harken back to the original Giant Market concept in its mission to bring innovation and modernity through a store experience that meets the unique needs of the neighborhoods it serves, Giant said.

“From featuring products made locally to being staffed by people who call the neighborhood home, Giant Heirloom Market is a true reflection of the surrounding community, and we can’t wait to see our shared vision come to life in just a few short months,” said Nicholas Bertram, president, Giant Food Stores, which has more than 170 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

The new concept comes after more than a year of intense neighborhood group listening sessions, market research, and format exploration. In addition, Giant searched nationally and globally for solutions, even going to Amsterdam, a city known for its innovative, small grocery stores, to find a format that would satisfy the community. Back home, Giant said it scoured Philadelphia for local purveyors who could help them deliver on the promise of a “neighborhood grocery store built by its neighbors.”

“Philadelphia is a natural choice for us to debut our new Giant Heirloom Market format, as we’re able to draw upon our passion for food and our fondness for local purveyors, all while leveraging innovation to bring something special to our new Graduate Hospital neighbors,” said Bertram.

Giant Food Stores is based in Carlisle, Pa., and is owned by Ahold Delhaize.

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