KROGER, AHOLD MAGAZINES TELL STORY OF CENTER STORE

Center Store items are getting a lift from new in-store magazines launched at Kroger Co., Cincinnati, and Ahold USA, Atlanta.Ahold's publication, Lifestyle Magazine, which debuted Oct. 1, comes in six versions, customized for each of its six banners. Several versions provide two pages of coupons for private-label products, ranging from frozen vegetables, bagels, waffles and ice cream to laundry detergent,

Center Store items are getting a lift from new in-store magazines launched at Kroger Co., Cincinnati, and Ahold USA, Atlanta.

Ahold's publication, Lifestyle Magazine, which debuted Oct. 1, comes in six versions, customized for each of its six banners. Several versions provide two pages of coupons for private-label products, ranging from frozen vegetables, bagels, waffles and ice cream to laundry detergent, aluminum foil, oatmeal, crackers and cookies, cereals and juices. National-brand Center Store items are promoted with coupons and advertising in all six magazines. A diagonal banner on the right-hand corner of each of the six Lifestyle versions touts savings with the coupons inside, which range from $20 to $32.

Lifestyle is published quarterly by Heritage Publishing, Dallas.

"We customized the magazine, so each [chain] has its name on the cover," said Caleb Pirtle, editorial director of Heritage.

"We customized each one by plugging in their store-brand products. For the largest stores -- Tops, Stop & Shop, Giant and Bi-Lo -- we did a special eight-page section featuring stories, information and recipes related to those supermarkets," he continued.

There are also Lifestyle versions for Edwards Super Food Stores and Finast Friendly Markets.

Private-label coupons are offered in Stop & Shop, Finast (for Edwards and Giant Stores) or Bi-Lo products. President's Choice holiday items, like frozen hors d'oeuvres and cookies and candy, are advertised in the magazines that go to Finast and Tops stores.

Lifestyle also contains recipes, along with feature stories on a variety of subjects. The magazine is distributed free in the stores.

"It will always be given away, but each chain decides exactly what you need to purchase to get a copy," Pirtle continued.

Kroger introduced Goodness From Kroger, according to store-level sources. The first issue, which came out in the spring, was distributed free, while the summer issue had a cover price of $1.95. Like Lifestyle, it is distributed quarterly.

Kroger is also using its magazine to promote Center Store items; for example, Kroger ice cream. But for the most part, its advertising takes a broader approach and promotes the store as a place where customers can meet a number of their needs.

For example, Kroger advertised its baby club, pint-sized shopping cart for kids and pet food and supply department. Another ad trumpeted, "Think of Kroger as a Video Store With the World's Largest Snack Bar," and pictured Center Store snack items and a video inside a popcorn bag.

Kroger's magazine, published by Southern Living, Birmingham, Ala., also has feature articles and recipes and cooking ideas, along with national-brand advertising.

Officials at Kroger in Cincinnati and Atlanta declined to comment on the magazine. SN's phone calls to Ahold subsidiary Giant Food Stores, Carlisle, Pa., were not returned.