KROGER SETS SIGNATURE UNIT IN NORTH TEXAS

CINCINNATI (FNS) -- Kroger here said it plans to bring its Signature store concept to north Texas by the end of the year.h and its suburbs of Arlington and Bedford, and the Dallas suburban communities of DeSoto, Plano, Duncanville and Allen.Developed by Kroger's Houston Southwest division in 1993, the Signature concept involves polling local residents about the merchandise, services and even layout

CINCINNATI (FNS) -- Kroger here said it plans to bring its Signature store concept to north Texas by the end of the year.

h and its suburbs of Arlington and Bedford, and the Dallas suburban communities of DeSoto, Plano, Duncanville and Allen.

Developed by Kroger's Houston Southwest division in 1993, the Signature concept involves polling local residents about the merchandise, services and even layout preferences they most want in their supermarkets.

Both focus groups and questionnaires are used, said Paul Bernish, Kroger's director of corporate affairs. "People in the neighborhood come in and talk with us. It's pretty free-flowing. We look for suggestions, like how about this feature vs. that feature, within basic parameters, of course."

Survey results are then reviewed and resident input is incorporated in final store development. The resulting 60,000- to 70,000-square-foot supermarket also bears a distinctive "Signature" logo on the front of the building, plus "distinctive differences" in interior appearance, said Evan Anthony, advertising manager of Kroger's Southwest Marketing Area.

In addition to relatively common supermarket features such as pharmacy, floral shop and branch banking, Signature stores also offer unusual features such as "Huggieland." Huggieland is a supervised play area for children that allows parents to keep an eye on their kids by using "Huggie View" TV monitors scattered throughout the store.

Other special features include expanded sections of fresh organic and all-natural foods, and a Meal Center that features preseasoned, fully cooked entrees and vegetables for takeout.