Quincy, MA. Stop & Shop Imitates Wal-Mart Supercenters.
Call it imitation sprawl. The Stop & Shop company, which is owned by the Dutch Royal Ahold conglomerate (the 7th. largest grocer in America), is boasting in a new press release that it has opened the 'Next Generation Of Superstores' in Walpole,
Massachusetts and Rhinebeck, New York.
The Next Generation store is "a new
standard for one-stop shopping", the company says. Each store has a pharmacy, groceries, general merchandise, and "restaurant options". "These stores will change the way people see Stop & Shop and food retail in general," said Stop & Shop President and CEO Marc Smith. "We're very excited to see how customers will respond to this next generation of Stop & Shop stores. These stores are exciting, fresh and welcoming." Other store features "under one roof" include:
an Office Depot supply department, a "Toy's R' Us Toybox," a "For Your Home" department carrying items such as towels, bath accessories, blankets, and bed sheets; a greenhouse offering in-season plants and gardening needs; a party goods center; a one-hour photo department with a portrait studio; a "Best Sellers!" department with the latest in books, music and video; a "consultation room" located in the pharmacy where customers can meet with the store pharmacist in private. "Whatever you need, chances are you'll find it at Stop & Shop," Smith said. The stores have an expanded Health and Beauty Care department. Both stores have a Dunkin' Donuts restaurants (so do Home Depots), and the Walpole store offers a homestyle-cooked meal at a Boston Market franchise located inside the store. The stores have a pharmacy, bakeshop, florist, butcher, deli, seafood, and produce departments. Other new superstores are planned for Glastonbury, CT, Springfield, MA, South Windsor, CT, Aberdeen Township, NJ, and Whitman, MA.
The new prototype stores come almost exactly 20 years after Stop & Shop opened its first Super Shop & Shop store in 1982, offering products not typically associated with supermarkets."We brought the idea of a superstore to New England and changed what customers can expect from their local supermarket," Smith said. "We're happy to take the lead again and change perceptions of what a supermarket can offer in the 21st century." In case you didn't get the point, Stop & Shopp offers plenty of hype as well.
What you can do: Stop & Shop's upping the ante on superstores is clearly an effort not to be left in the dust by Wal-Mart supercenters. Wal-Mart moved into groceries back in 1988, and is now the largest grocer in America, so it is only fitting that Stop & Shop tries to expand its offerings beyond conventional grocery items. Stop & Shop is trying to get out in front of Wal-Mart supercenters in its main New England base. The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company operates 329 supermarkets in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. In that same trade area, as of the end of FY 2002, Wal-Mart had 2 supercenters in Connecticut, 1 in Massachusetts, 0 in Rhode Island, 17 in New York, and 0 in New Jersey. In these 5 states, Wal-Mart has only 1.8% of its supercenters in the nation. There are only 7 states in the country that don't have supercenters, and 3 of them are in this market area. California is the other major state that has no Wal-Mart supercenters. But if Stop & Shop is going to make a supercenter move, it needs to happen before the Wal-Mart saturation, not after. The Stop & Shop press release does not say how large its new supercenters will be. "These new stores were designed to give customers a shopping experience unlike anything they've seen before." Hyperbole is in aisle seven.