HOMELAND USES CARD TO STAND OUT FROM PACK

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Homeland Stores here is using its frequent-shopper card to set itself apart from its main competition, Wal-Mart Supercenters and Albertson's. tivating other customers to shop Homeland more frequently."We think this card will be a strategic tool," he said. "We can develop it. We can refine it. We think it can be important in building profitable sales."In addition to its high-low promotional

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Homeland Stores here is using its frequent-shopper card to set itself apart from its main competition, Wal-Mart Supercenters and Albertson's.

tivating other customers to shop Homeland more frequently.

"We think this card will be a strategic tool," he said. "We can develop it. We can refine it. We think it can be important in building profitable sales."

In addition to its high-low promotional strategy, Homeland will compete on other fronts, including a renewed customer-service initiative that will roll out to all 70 stores.

"We are not competing for the 'price-is-king' customer," Kordisch said. "Quite frankly we can't compete with Wal-Mart on price. However, we must provide value, convenience and superior service."

Kordisch said the company is on the lookout for acquisition targets.

The company has identified 200 independent stores within 275 miles of Oklahoma City as potential acquisitions. As a buyer, Homeland is virtually unchallenged, Kordisch said. Wal-Mart does not buy stores. Albertson's typically does not buy two- and three-store operations. And independents -- which account for 51% of Oklahoma's retail food sales -- generally do not have the cash or interest in acquiring units.

"A fragmented market is ideal for making strategic acquisitions, and it allows us to expand without adding square footage to the marketplace," he said.

Kordisch also said the chain will spend about $13 million in 1998 to modernize and expand 20 stores. Kordisch spoke at the annual Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Food & Drug Retailing Conference in New York.

"We're not going to do anything revolutionary in 1998," Kordisch told the conference. "We're just going to do a lot of little things right."