LONG BEACH, Calif. — Safeway last week opened the first location of The Market, a small-format store the retailer intends to use as an option when renovating older stores and potentially to expand into new locations.
The Market made its debut in a former Vons store here that had operated since the 1960s but closed in January, Rojon Hasker, president of Lifestyle Stores and New Concepts for the Pleasanton, Calif.-based retailer, told SN at the grand opening. The 15,000-square-foot store was gut-renovated and changed to The Market format, which features an edited selection of items based upon sales data at the former Vons, along with certain items — such as flavored ice cubes and certain organic and soy-based items — that were not available at Vons or in Safeway's renovated “Lifestyle” stores.
Hasker said The Market will be an option for an estimated 25 locations nationwide where Safeway operates small stores that have yet to be converted to the Lifestyle format. The company expects to unveil a second location of The Market later this year but declined to identify its location. As in the Long Beach store, each location of The Market will feature a product selection based on local tastes.
The Long Beach store features service deli, meat, seafood and bakery departments and an in-store Starbucks counter. The store features a heavier mix of private-label items than a typical Safeway location, Hasker said, including prepared foods bearing the “World Cuisine” label developed at Safeway's Citrine restaurant and heretofore available only in selected Safeway stores in Northern California.
Groceries, accounting for approximately one-third of the sales floor, are merchandised on seven gondolas on one side of the store. Customers form a single line for checkout, feeding into full-service and self-service checkstands located in the store lobby.
The Market logo, featuring brown lettering amid three green leaves, is accompanied by the Vons logo, which Hasker said lends the new format “credibility.” Pricing is identical to other Vons stores in the area, she added.
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