KNOWLAN'S TO EXPAND SUCCESSFUL ESL ROLLOUT

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Knowlan's Super Markets here plans to move forward with the installation of electronic shelf labels (ESLs) based on the success it has had with ESLs in two of its stores operating under the Knowlan's Festival Foods banner in the Minneapolis-St.Paul area."It has been a very positive experience so far," said Lauri Youngquist, chief financial officer for Knowlan's."Accuracy is the

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Knowlan's Super Markets here plans to move forward with the installation of electronic shelf labels (ESLs) based on the success it has had with ESLs in two of its stores operating under the Knowlan's Festival Foods banner in the Minneapolis-St.Paul area.

"It has been a very positive experience so far," said Lauri Youngquist, chief financial officer for Knowlan's.

"Accuracy is the primary concern with pricing. The timeliness of price changes is key. Our customers value the price accuracy provided by the system and we feel it gives us an edge over competitors who cannot make the same promise to their customers," Youngquist added. "This is the initial phase of our ESL program. We anticipate rolling out the solution to all of our Festival Foods stores."

She noted that the retailer does not have any firm dates yet for the rollout of ESLs to other stores, but the project is moving forward. Knowlan's operates eight stores in total, four of which operate under the Festival Foods banner.

"Customer reaction has been positive. They say it is easy to read the prices," she noted.

Between 18,000 and 20,000 wireless labels have been installed in each store.

One store has been using the system since it opened in November 1999. The other store, which is about two and a half years old, has been using ESLs since October of last year.

"We are committed to providing quality and unique products, as well as great service for our valued customers," said Youngquist. "This is an important part of the Knowlan's tradition dating back to the early 1900s. [ESLs] are an excellent way for us to extend the high level of service our customers have grown to expect and appreciate."

Along with automating shelf pricing, the electronic labels from NCR, Dayton, Ohio, can also can be used to convey promotional messages to shoppers, including special offers, frequent shopper items and nutritional information. Youngquist said no decision has been made about taking advantage of the other capabilities of the ESLs.