SHOPPERS FOOD STRESSES CLUB FORMAT

WASHINGTON (FNS) -- Shoppers Food Warehouse Corp., a 34-store chain based in Lanham, Md., is placing a bigger emphasis on its club concept.The company has rolled out a new club prototype and plans to focus on this format in its future expansion, according to Sandi Perkins, spokeswoman.The company now operates three clubs and 31 warehouse stores. All units are nonmembership. While the company will

WASHINGTON (FNS) -- Shoppers Food Warehouse Corp., a 34-store chain based in Lanham, Md., is placing a bigger emphasis on its club concept.

The company has rolled out a new club prototype and plans to focus on this format in its future expansion, according to Sandi Perkins, spokeswoman.

The company now operates three clubs and 31 warehouse stores. All units are nonmembership. While the company will put the main expansion emphasis on clubs, it may open warehouses in spaces that are too small for clubs, Perkins said.

The chain unveiled its newest club prototype with the opening of its 75,000 square foot store in a strip center in Gaithersburg, Md. The new format puts a greater emphasis on food service. It includes a coffee bar, bagels baked throughout the day, hot foods to go and a more upscale appearance, Perkins said.

The clubs are larger than the warehouses, and display club packs on skids, unlike the warehouses. Club stores range from 60,000 to 75,000 square feet while warehouses built within the last five years average about 50,000 square feet.

The clubs "have huge wine and beer departments, scratch bakeries and many imported cheeses," Perkins said. In addition, the design and fixtures of the warehouses and clubs are different.

Both the clubs and the warehouses offer discounts on all merchandise and services such as photo finishing.

Shoppers Food Warehouse opened its first club in November 1993. Perkins would not estimate the number of stores the company is planning to open in the future, but she said officials are constantly looking for good sites in the greater Washington area. Shoppers Food is even looking in the District, although it has not settled on a site, she said.