LANDOVER, Md. — Giant Food here has launched “Project Refresh,” a sweeping makeover plan that will seek to remodel or relocate 100 of the chain's supermarkets during the next three years.
The effort comes as the chain's sales have continued to lag in the face of increased competition in the market. Comparable-store sales were down 1.6% in the third quarter that ended Oct. 7, Giant's Amsterdam-based parent company, Ahold, reported late last month.
Patrick Roquas, an analyst who follows Ahold at Rabobank, also based in Amsterdam, estimated that Ahold was investing about $300 million in the remodeling effort.
A spokesman for Giant declined to comment on the financial details of the program.
“A lot of the remodels are going to be based on what we are doing in our new prototype stores,” said Jamie Miller, the Giant spokesman. “Customers will see improvements in our produce sections and in our other perishables departments. There will be new decor in the stores, new flooring, additional lighting — it will have a whole new look, similar to our prototype stores.”
The company opened the first of its new prototypes last year in Millville, Del., and followed with another in Dunkirk, Md.
The stores feature expanded fresh offerings — including a cheese section featuring more than 200 varieties — and a wider array of prepared foods. Produce is displayed under canopies meant to invoke roadside farmstands.
While Giant's comps sagged in the period — which Roquas attributed in part to difficult comparisons with the year-ago results — both Stop & Shop and Giant-Carlisle posted gains in the low single digits. Comps rose 1.7% at Stop & Shop and 3.7% at Giant-Carlisle.
Net sales for Giant-Landover and Stop & Shop combined rose 0.3% for the period, to $3.7 billion. Giant-Carlisle's sales were up 13.1%, to $1 billion, due in part to the acquisition of 13 Clemens Markets in the fourth quarter of last year.