Meijer to Test Smaller Format

Supercenter pioneer Meijer Inc. last week said it would open a new format considerably smaller than its typical store and focused on the grocery side of the business.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Supercenter pioneer Meijer Inc., based here, last week said it would open a new format considerably smaller than its typical store and focused on the grocery side of the business.

The 102,000-square-foot outlet — about half the size of a typical Meijer store but still more than twice the size of a typical supermarket — is scheduled to debut in the first quarter of next year in Niles, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.

“This is an exciting announcement for everyone at our company,” said Hank Meijer, co-chairman and chief executive officer of the privately owned retailer, in a prepared statement. “Not only does this store represent a new approach to the way we go to market, it also reinforces our commitment to invest and grow in Chicagoland.”

The Chicago area represents one of the company’s newest markets, and it has been promoting its grocery offering heavily against market-share leaders Jewel-Osco, owned by Minneapolis-based Supervalu, and Dominick’s, owned by Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif. Most of Meijer’s development in the region has been 25-50 miles outside the city.

The new store, the company said “will be grocery and pharmacy focused, while still providing some general merchandise offerings.”

The company currently operates 189 supercenters in five Midwestern states, generating estimated annual revenues of more than $14 billion.

Observers previously told SN that one of the challenges for Meijer to grow was that it operated such large stores.

“Opportunities for stores exceeding 200,000 square feet are dwindling,” added David Rogers, principal at DSR Marketing Systems, Deerfield, Ill.