MARC'S EXPANDS FRESH FOOD OFFERINGS

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Marc's here is expanding the selection of fresh produce, meat and dairy at all 51 stores in northeastern Ohio, according to published reports.The deep-discount drug chain, traditionally a carrier of HBC, general merchandise, closeouts and a food selection including meat and produce in a limited number of stores, aims to become a one-stop shop with the expanded selections, according

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Marc's here is expanding the selection of fresh produce, meat and dairy at all 51 stores in northeastern Ohio, according to published reports.

The deep-discount drug chain, traditionally a carrier of HBC, general merchandise, closeouts and a food selection including meat and produce in a limited number of stores, aims to become a one-stop shop with the expanded selections, according to a story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.

Its recently revamped Solon, Ohio, location doubled the size of its dairy and frozen-food sections while expanding its produce section to include organic fruits and vegetables, according to reports.

The store, which has wider aisles, also includes a new fresh meat case and deli display as well as a gourmet cheese island.

Among its offerings are Miceli's fresh mozzarella in brine, two 6-ounce tubs for $3, and Jarlsberg cheese for $4.98 per pound.

At other Marc's stores, like the retailer's Brookpark, Ohio, location, the transition appears to be more gradual.

According to a store associate, the organic produce selection is limited, but "we've been getting more and more organic fruits and vegetables in recently," he said.

The current offering includes organic pears, oranges and Romaine hearts, which retail at two for $3.

Since the retails are already below the sales prices offered by many competitors, the stores never run sales, according to Marc's. In store circulars, the retailer asks customers, "Why pay high supermarket prices?"

Marc's plans to carry its low price points over to its fresh foods. Among the meats advertised in a March store circular on the company's website: Amish Valley boneless chicken breast for $1.88 per pound, Honeysuckle White 85% lean ground turkey for $1.29 per pound and Brookfield Point Cut Corned Beef for $1.68 per pound.

Marc's fresh produce includes NewStar fresh asparagus for $1.77 per pound, red or green seedless grapes for $1.15 per pound and Hass avocados, three for $2.

Marc's uses bulk displays and cut cases to emphasize its "deep discount" theme and offers limited quantities of a variety of closeout items ranging from automotive products to toys, giftware, servingware and pet supplies.

According to Marc's, store volume allows the company to operate on tighter profit margins than most retailers. All departments are self-service with the exception of the prescription drug and cosmetics departments.

Thousands of shoppers visit the stores every day, according to the website.