A&P OPENS SUPERSTORES IN FORMAT EXPANSION

MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P here is beginning the summer with a bang on the format front.ds, health and beauty care, and other departments. A&P is also testing a limited assortment store in one location.The new entries include:A 60,000-square-foot Farmer Jack superstore in Detroit, scheduled to open July 12, that will be the largest store under that banner.A 54,000-square-foot A&P superstore in Mahwah,

MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P here is beginning the summer with a bang on the format front.

ds, health and beauty care, and other departments. A&P is also testing a limited assortment store in one location.

The new entries include:

A 60,000-square-foot Farmer Jack superstore in Detroit, scheduled to open July 12, that will be the largest store under that banner.

A 54,000-square-foot A&P superstore in Mahwah, N.J., that opened Memorial Day weekend.

A 16,000-square-foot limited assortment store called Food Basics, which opened in mid-June in a converted Kohl's Food Store in Appleton, Wis. The store is patterned on two similar outlets in Canada. According to Michael J. Rourke,

senior vice president, communications and corporate affairs, "The limited assortment store is a one-store test, while the expanded superstores are essentially the basic format we are going with in the future." That superstore format extends the size of the company's stores from about 40,000 square feet to 50,000 to 65,000 square feet to accommodate larger varieties in all departments, with a strong emphasis on produce, Rourke said. "We're expanding produce selection by 15% to 20% by increasing the number of items from about 225 to close to 300, with more emphasis on organics, exotics and locally-grown produce," he explained. The expanded superstores also include larger drug sections and pharmacies; larger delicatessens and bakeries, and additional selections of takeout foods, Rourke noted. The stores also use appliances on an in-and-out basis for special promotions, although the Mahwah store stocks items like televisions and videocassette recorders on a regular basis, Rourke said. When the new Farmer Jack opens later this week, its most unique feature, Rourke said, will be a concourse across the front that will lease space to McDonald's, National Bank of Detroit and a dry cleaner.

The store will be the largest in A&P's Michigan-based division, and will also be one of the largest stores in the A&P chain, Rourke said. The Farmer Jack will be similar to A&P's new store in Mahwah, N.J., except for subtle differences in decor and layout, he added. One unique feature of the Mahwah store is the variety of appliances offered there, including 19-inch televisions and barbecue grills priced at $400. A&P is also pursuing a limited assortment test in Wisconsin. In mid-June the chain's Milwaukee-based Kohl's division converted a 16,000-square-foot unit in Appleton, Wis., to a limited assortment format called Food Basics, similar to two former Miracle Mart stores A&P operates in Canada. The Food Basics store features 6,000 items, with a strong emphasis on produce and a wide selection of fresh meats, that chain officials say will enable consumers to do all their shopping at the store. "The Wisconsin store is a test to see how the limited-assortment format works out," a chain executive told SN. "Rather than close a smaller store, we decided to try this format." Rourke said it could be expanded to other units if the format works.