RADIO SHACK TO LOCATE IN FORT WORTH KROGER STORE

CINCINNATI -- Electronics retailer RadioShack, Fort Worth, Texas, this April will install a 2,200-square-foot department inside a Raleigh, N.C., store of Kroger Co., based here, according to a source at the Kroger unit.While Kay Jackson, director of public relations planning at RadioShack, said this is a one-store partnership and an "isolated incident," it comes at a time when supermarkets are increasingly

CINCINNATI -- Electronics retailer RadioShack, Fort Worth, Texas, this April will install a 2,200-square-foot department inside a Raleigh, N.C., store of Kroger Co., based here, according to a source at the Kroger unit.

While Kay Jackson, director of public relations planning at RadioShack, said this is a one-store partnership and an "isolated incident," it comes at a time when supermarkets are increasingly seeking out strategic alliances with other types of retailers in an effort to compete with mass merchandisers' supercenters. These agreements often involve complementary operations outside the supermarket chain's scope of expertise that strengthen the one-stop shopping experience.

For example, the Jewel Osco division of Albertsons, Boise, Idaho, has reported good success in a partnership with Toys "R" Us, Paramus, N.J., and Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., Quincy, Mass., has a number of alliances, including one with Office Depot, Delray Beach, Fla.

With the move into the Kroger store, in a space near the frozen food section with its own entrance, RadioShack hopes to capitalize on the prime retail real estate and the grocery store's foot traffic, Jackson told SN. A Kroger executive did not respond to a call for comment.

"As the supermarket industry struggles as it has been with the growth and impact of Wal-Mart going into the food business and the impact of its supercenters, the more traditional supermarket retailer wants to create uniqueness and a point-of-difference so consumers come back more often," said Wendy Liebmann, president, WSL Strategic Retail, New York. "If they have a recognized brand, it gives people a reason to go back to the store more often."

However, while RadioShack tested a retail partnership with Blockbuster, Dallas, last year, the company has no plans to align with other retail partners or to expand with Kroger, Jackson said.