Spartan Evaluates Discount Banner

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While the Valu Land discount chain is still officially in the testing phase, parent company Spartan Stores [4] here said that it has now opened enough locations to determine its fate over the long term.

Spartan operates eight Valu Land stores in a variety of locations serving various demographic customer bases in Michigan, Dennis Eidson, Spartan’s chief executive officer, said during a conference call discussing first-quarter earnings. While the company is still experimenting with the concept, Eidson said “I think we have enough boxes now with an assortment of demographics, [and] different regions of the state to be able to more effectively read this format and determine where we’re going to go long-term.”

Read more: Spartan Reports Q1 Results [5]

Spartan launched Valu Land in early 2012 to test consumer acceptance of a limited-assortment discount store. It’s earliest stores are now in Spartans’ comparable-store sales base, Eidson said, and excluding a week of sales affected by the Easter holiday, comps during Spartan's first quarter were positive, he said.


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Eidson said the stores differ from Aldi and Save-A-Lot by offering more branded goods and service departments, but emphasized the company is still "tweaking" the concept.

In response to a question from an analyst, Eidson acknowledged that he was “intrigued” by the possibility that the format could be expanded as a result of Spartan’s pending merger with Nash Finch Co. and its largely rural retail store base.

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