Stop & Shop has brought its new look to Long Island, a key market in metropolitan New York.
The Ahold Delhaize USA supermarket chain today debuted 21 upgraded stores in Suffolk County as part of a $133 million capital investment to enhance the shopping experience. The launch follows the reopening of 21 remodeled stores last October in Hartford, Conn., which kicked off a five-year capital spending plan — estimated at $1.6 billion to $2 billion — to refresh Stop & Shop stores chainwide.
On Friday, Stop & shop held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in its store at 291 Main Street in Smithtown, N.Y., as part of grand reopening events at the updated stores, which included free food, the Stop & Shop Airstream trailer and special appearances by alumni players from the NFL’s New York Giants at some locations.
The Quincy, Mass.-based retailer currently has more than 50 stores under the Stop & Shop banner on Long Island, where the chain is by far the grocery retail market leader, with around a 25% share. The retailer employs over 8,000 associates on the island and noted that it recently added about 350 part-time associates and promoted another 100 associates to full-time positions.
“The remodeling of our Long Island stores is a key milestone in our journey to refresh the Stop & Shop brand for the future and to strengthen our position as market leader,” Stop & Shop President Gordon Reid said in a statement. Reid became Stop & Shop president in late July, coming over from Ahold Delhaize USA’s Giant Food.
Enhancements at the Suffolk County stores, located in the eastern half of Long Island, include expanded produce sections with more organic and locally grown fruit and vegetables; more prepared foods, such as stir fry stations, sushi bars, hot bars and meats like brisket and pulled pork smoked in-store; in-store cafes offering smoothies, coffee, treats,and free wi-fi; Italian specialty sections featuring items like pasta, sauce and fill-your-own bottle olive oil and vinegar fustis; a wider selection of specialty cheeses, such as local, freshly made Lioni mozzarella; and domestic and imported olives that can be mixed and matched at the olive bar.
Also as part of the increased local offerings, the stores feature a broad assortment of craft beers from brands such as Long Island’s Montauk Ale and South Hampton Brewing. Selected stores also offer interactive beer kiosks to help customers find the best beer-food pairings.
On the convenience side, shoppers will find strategically located cold cases containing food staples — including milk, bread, butter and eggs — right by checkout so they can grab most-needed items without having to walk the entire store, according to Stop & Shop. Customers can also use the chain’s SCAN IT! mobile app to scan and bag items as they shop and then simply scan a barcode at checkout to pay. The upgraded stores, too, offer same-day online grocery pickup, enabling customers to place orders via Peapod.com and then pick them up as soon as four hours later. The retailer said it also is serving up new, lower prices on items throughout the stores.
“We’re excited for local customers to enjoy the changes we’ve brought to Long Island like even more fresh produce, lower prices and new solutions to help make things easy for our customers get their shopping done and get back to what matters most,” Reid stated.
Under the “Reimaging Stop & Shop” initiative, the grocery chain aims to deliver more fresh, healthy and convenient options and lower prices at its more than 400 stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.
Ahold Delhaize has said it expects the brand refresh at Stop & Shop is to lift store sales 4% to 6% on a pro forma basis in the first year, 2% to 4% in the second and 2% in the third. Plans call for 60 to 80 stores to be upgraded annually under the program.
On Long Island, Stop & Shop also is still finalizing its acquisition of King Kullen Grocery Co. Under a deal announced in January, Stop & Shop is buying 32 King Kullen stores and five Wild by Nature natural/organic supermarkets in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Two underperforming King Kullen locations have since been closed, and another is slated to be shut Sept. 26.