WINN-DIXIE PILOTS NEW SAVERITE
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie Stores said last week that it has opened a new prototype of its SaveRite discount format near its headquarters here. The 48,000-square-foot store — a redesign of an existing SaveRite location — was crafted around local shopping preferences, Dan Portnoy, Winn-Dixie's chief merchandising and marketing officer, said in a statement. The store features thousands of items at everyday low prices, as well as monthly “locked-in” specials and weekly “price-drop” items in a warehouse format, along with meat and produce departments and a pharmacy.
NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET IN VIRGINIA
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — New outposts of Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Market grocery opened last week in Florida and Virginia — both in locations previously occupied by Winn-Dixie Stores. The Virginia store, in Norfolk, is the first Neighborhood Market in that state and occupies 45,000 square feet, while the new Clearwater, Fla., store occupies a 40,000-square-foot former Winn-Dixie location. Wal-Mart as of last August operated 21 Neighborhood Markets and 161 supercenters in Florida.
WEIS CUTTING PRICES ON STAPLES
SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets here last week began lowering prices on “thousands of its staple items” and included them in a 90-day price freeze. Items include branded and private-label dry grocery, frozen, dairy, produce, meat, deli and bakery offerings. “I think as you watch some of our upcoming ads, and how we reposition our brand and our promotional activity, I think that will do a reasonably good job of re-inviting customers who may be stuck at a competitor back in for trial,” David Hepfinger, the newly named chief executive officer at Weis, told SN in a recent interview. “And once we get them back in for trial and they see a different operating condition, I think it will make a difference.”
WAL-MART TO RELAUNCH BRAND
NEW YORK — The expected relaunch of Wal-Mart's Great Value brand this year “could serve as a catalyst” for expanding private label, according to an analyst at Citigroup here. Although private label has historically not been an area of focus for Wal-Mart, it could exceed 40% penetration over the next three years as the company replaces slow-moving brands with own-label products, said the analyst, Deborah Weinswig. Current private-label penetration is about 16%, she said.
ALDI DISCRIMINATION TRIAL BEGINS
PITTSBURGH — A trial in which a cashier is accusing discount retailer Aldi of religious discrimination for forcing her to work on Sundays began in U.S. District Court here last week. Backed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Kimberly Bloom filed a lawsuit against Aldi in 2006 claiming she was fired after refusing to work on Sundays because of her Protestant religious beliefs. The store in Uniontown, Pa., where she had worked for several years began operating seven days a week in December 2005, after having previously been closed on Sundays, according to the complaint. A spokesman for Aldi could not be reached for comment.