NEW STORE FORMATS OPENED BY DELHAIZE

SALISBURY, N.C. (FNS) -- Delhaize America here said it opened two stores with innovative formats last week, both with different product mixes than the company's other supermarkets, and both soon to be rolled out at other locations.One, in Clermont, Fla., operated by Delhaize's Tampa, Fla.-based Kash n' Karry division, features an unusual round building design and several expanded categories.The other,

SALISBURY, N.C. (FNS) -- Delhaize America here said it opened two stores with innovative formats last week, both with different product mixes than the company's other supermarkets, and both soon to be rolled out at other locations.

One, in Clermont, Fla., operated by Delhaize's Tampa, Fla.-based Kash n' Karry division, features an unusual round building design and several expanded categories.

The other, in Virginia Beach, Va., operated by Delhaize's Food Lion division here under the new Village Market banner, offers both traditional and upscale products in a small-store setting.

In line with Food Lion and Kash n' Karry's reputation for low prices, both stores make efforts to appeal to bargain hunters. The Clermont Kash n' Karry will feature the same price points as other stores in the chain. The Virginia Beach Village Market will honor the same prices Food Lion advertises for its other 56 stores in the Hampton Roads, Va., region.

Although Delhaize said both formats were an "experiment," the company is committed to rolling out additional versions of each. In 2000, round Kash n' Karrys will open in Tampa and Punta Gorda, Fla. Early next year, another Village Market is scheduled to open in Hilton Head, S.C.

It remains to be seen whether the round-store format will be transferred to Food Lion stores, which have traditionally been smaller, "low-price" units. "We're hoping to learn with each concept what we can pass on to our sister companies," said company spokeswoman Tawn Earnest.

The round design is an attempt to create a seamless shopping experience in which departments flow into one another to help speed shoppers on their way, according to an architect who worked on the store.

"The vocabulary of circular architecture, found in airports and train stations, is fast," said Juan Romero, president of Tampa-based Architecture Plus International, which assisted in designing the store.

The focal point of the 49,000-square-foot unit is the 35-foot tall atrium area at the front of the store. This is also where the deli and bakery are located, and where shoppers can pick up a quick meal, walk over to the three self-scanning checkout lanes, and be out the door.

"If you just want to pick up hot foods, you won't find anywhere else that's as convenient. But if you want to do a full shop, you can also do that," said Mike Byars, Kash n' Karry's chief operating officer. "For most people, grocery shopping is not a recreational activity. Every detail in this store -- from the use of open-view prep rooms and computerized self-checkout -- serves one purpose: making shopping fun and hassle-free."

Clermont was chosen as the location for the first supermarket-in-the round, according to store manager James Francis, because "it has a small-town feel, but is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation."

The 17,500-square-foot Village Market in Virginia Beach is one of 27 A&P supermarkets Food Lion acquired earlier this year. "It was too small, and we were just going to spin it off. But we decided to try a concept we'd been thinking about," said Kyle Mitchell, director of construction and engineering for Food Lion.

The store includes a wine cellar, more organic and specialty produce than Food Lion stores and sushi prepared daily by a local restaurant.

"Since we bought Kash n' Karry, we learned a lot about their fresh departments. Village Market takes them [fresh] a step further," said Mitchell.