KROGER REPLACES VIDEOS WITH ORGANICS

CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. has used space from a former video-rental department for a 2,800-square-foot organic-food section, according to a local press report.The video department in the 80,000-square-foot Queen City Centre store -- the largest store located near the chain's corporate headquarters -- closed earlier this year, after a Blockbuster store opened nearby and cut video revenues in half,

CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. has used space from a former video-rental department for a 2,800-square-foot organic-food section, according to a local press report.

The video department in the 80,000-square-foot Queen City Centre store -- the largest store located near the chain's corporate headquarters -- closed earlier this year, after a Blockbuster store opened nearby and cut video revenues in half, an employee told SN. Shrink had also been a problem there. The one-hour photo operation, located next to video, was reportedly moved to another part of the store to make room for the new section. The space is located at the front of the store, adjacent to an entrance.

SN has reported that Kroger's Cincinnati/Dayton division was taking video rental out of many stores and not putting rental into new and remodeled stores. The Michigan division took video rental out last year, and other divisions, such as Atlanta and City Market, in Grand Junction, Colo., are testing leased-space video departments operated by Blockbuster, Dallas.

The organic-food section, called Nature's Market, went into the store in May. "We see that as a growing area, and a number of our stores in different markets have nutritional and organic-food sections now," Lynn Marmer, Kroger corporate spokeswoman, was quoted as saying. "We've been working on the concept for a number of years," she said.

Steve Jagers, a spokesman for the Cincinnati/Dayton division, was quoted as saying the section offers about 4,500 types of health, nutritional and organic foods. The division had nutrition departments in its stores in the 1980s, but took them out when the trend began to wane, he said.

"We felt it might come back around. We have been ready for this for a long time," Jagers said.

The addition of the organic-food section relates to Kroger's recent decision to stock health and beauty care products from Mature Mart, Atlanta, geared toward people over 50. Sold in the retailer's pharmacies, products include a tweezer magnifier for up-close work, a pill splitter to help divide tablets, a seven-day pill organizer and a magnifier with flashlight.