MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Following the lead of Albertson's, Kroger Co. and other alternative-site retailers, Piggly Wiggly Co. here will test-market gasoline service at several franchised stores in 1999.
In February a 30,500-square-foot Piggly Wiggly store in Warrensburg, Mo., will be the first to open a "PW Petro" gas-pump island in its parking lot. The island initially will have three self-service pumps situated under a 24- by 96-foot canopy, the company said. The pumps will dispense three grades of unleaded gasoline and accommodate a total of six customers at a time. No products other than gas will be sold at the island.
Plans call for at least five other Piggly Wiggly stores to open gas stations next year, a company spokeswoman said.
Gasoline service increasingly is a must for supermarkets striving to provide maximum convenience to shoppers, the spokeswoman said. "Everybody's looking at this. Piggly Wiggly is undergoing a lot of redefining of the brand, and, in looking at shopping trends, you really can't miss the fueling piece of it."
Customers will pay for their gas along with their groceries at the store checkstands, with the dollar amount encoded on a scannable card -- or, eventually, a device attached to the customer's keychain -- that can be swiped any time at the pumps. The Warrensburg PW Petro station, like the store, will be open 24 hours a day.