PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fred Meyer Inc. here plans to open a new store format in Phoenix -- sized between a Fred Meyer and a Smitty's -- and to take over operations of Phoenix-based Smitty's, Mary F. Sammons, president of the Fred Meyer Stores division, told SN.
Sammons said the company plans to open the first new-format store next fall -- a 130,000-square-foot unit that will be larger than Smitty's, whose stores average 110,000 square feet, and smaller than Fred Meyer multidepartment stores, which average 145,000 square feet.
Smitty's is part of Smith's Food & Drug Centers, Salt Lake City; Smith's, along with Ralphs, Compton, Calif.; Quality Food Centers, Bellevue, Wash.; and Fred Meyer Stores here are all divisions of Fred Meyer Inc., which is in the process of merging with Kroger Co., Cincinnati.
"Bringing the 18 Smitty's stores into the Fred Meyer group will enable us to build a stronger franchise for Smitty's," Sammons said.
She said Fred Meyer Stores is in the process of assuming operating responsibility for Smitty's "because those stores are closer in size to a Fred Meyer [multidepartment store] than to a Smith's, and what works for a food store is not the same as what works for a store with a higher percentage of nonfoods."
Smith's acquired the Smitty's stores in 1996, and Fred Meyer acquired Smith's last fall. The Smitty's stores already stocked more nonfood items than a traditional supermarket, and Fred Meyer has been remodeling the stores to accommodate a greater nonfood mix under a new name, Smitty's Marketplace.
Fifteen of the 18 stores have already reopened under the Marketplace banner, which includes the addition of more than 50,000 stockkeeping units of nonfood, "so the merchandise mix at Smitty's is closer to a Fred Meyer than to a Smith's," Sammons pointed out.
"So, as Smitty's has increased the space for nonfoods, it made more sense to run it as part of a one-stop shopping strategy as we do at Fred Meyer," she said.
The change in operating responsibilities in Phoenix will be completed over the next few weeks, Sammons said.