STORE SPACES

Walgreens delves deeper into groceries with ‘Kroger Express’ in-store shops

BY Marianne Wilson

Walgreens and Kroger Co. are expanding their fledgling partnership.

In October, the two retailers announced a partnership to sell grocery items from Kroger private-label line Our Brands at 13 Walgreens test stores in Northern Kentucky, near Kroger’s Cincinatti headquarters, and for customers to order Kroger grocery items online and pick up the goods at the test stores. The pilot is now being extended to include an initiative called “Kroger Express,” a branded section that will offer a curated assortment of 2,300 grocery products in the 13 Walgreens test stores.

The assortment will include Home Chef meal kits, national products and Kroger’s Our Brands private label line. The products, which range from dairy and meat to produce and frozen items, will be selected using customer data and insights provided by Kroger subsidiary 84.51. The first store to feature the Kroger Express concept is open in Florence, Kentucky, with the remaining 12 pilot stores to come on board early next year.

“We are excited to enter the next phase of the pilot,” said Robert Clark, Kroger senior VP of merchandising. “The Kroger Express concept creates easy access to our most popular Our Brands products through a fill-in grocery shopping experience for Walgreens customers, and our Home Chef Express meal kits provide customers with an on-demand solution for tonight’s dinner.”

In addition, the two retailers announced that Walgreens has made Home Chef Express meal kits available in 65 Walgreens locations in the Chicago area.  During the pilot, Walgreens will offer three unique Home Chef Express meal kit options, with recipes rotating bi-weekly. (Kroger purchased Home Chef in spring 2018.)

“Customers have responded favorably to the retail meal kits at our Mariano’s stores in the market and other Kroger Family of Stores located in different cities,” Clark said. “The Walgreens expansion provides more Chicagoans convenient access to a quick, simple meal.”

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Fast-growing RaceTrac in milestone store opening

BY Marianne Wilson

RaceTrack has opened its 500th store — and it’s not stopping there.

The convenience store operator opened its 500th store, in Hapeville, Georgia.

Three additional RaceTrac stores are opening this week, with locations in Lafayette, Louisiana; Fellsmere, Florida; and Brunswick, Georgia.

“We are thrilled to reach this incredible milestone,” said Billy Milam, president of RaceTrac. “In 2018, we’ve continued on a tremendous growth trajectory with 54 new stores opening by the end of the year.”

RaceTrac will drive this momentum into 2019 as it breaks ground in a new market. The company plans to open at least 50 stores in the Nashville area by 2023. (In 2018, RaceTrac announced its expansion into Tennessee.)

RaceTrac has had a big year. In addition to opening its 500th store , the company is in the process of transitioning to completely franchise-operated RaceWay stores. It also opened its first Expanded Diesel Offering store.

Headquartered in Atlanta, family-owned RaceTrac operates 500 convenience stores locations in Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

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Giant Food in store upgrade and expansion program

BY Marianne Wilson

Giant Food is upgrading its store experience.

The supermarket retailer announced a $175 million capital investment into expansion and improvement over the next two years. The investment include one new store and 24 remodels. These efforts are in addition to the recently announced $21 million investment into a new location in Olney, Md., set to to open in spring 2019.

“We look forward to updating and enhancing our existing stores and constructing both new and replacement locations to give our shoppers a fresh and imaginative selection, unique in-store experiences and superior customer service,” said Gordon Reid, president, Giant Food, Landover, Md., which operates 164 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.

The new store will be located in Fairfax Circle, Va. Giant opened two new stores in Virginia — in the towns of Herndon and  Alexandria — earlier this month.

Giant’s upgrade efforts will include remodeling 24 store locations to feature new amenities such as enhanced perishable, produce, beer, wine and spirits offerings, full-service florists, expanded natural and organic departments, hot Asian food bars, fresh squeezed juice bars, enhanced check-out zones, full-service pharmacies and more.

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