BOISE, Idaho -- Albertson's is putting live inventory video rental departments into all new stores and some remodeled stores, said Michael Read, director of public relations and governmental affairs.
"I can confirm that we are going to what we call live departments," he said. "It's a trend in the newer stores, and we are also retrofitting some of our older stores." Read could not provide any additional details.
With live inventory presentations, the actual tapes are displayed on racks protected by a security system. With non-live displays, empty boxes are displayed and customers get the tapes from a service counter.
Albertson's plans to add 66 new stores to its 764-unit total in 1996 and another 71 in 1997, reported A. Craig Olson, senior vice president and chief financial officer, during a recent investment conference. The company opened 58 stores in 1995 while closing 11. Albertson's offers video rental in almost all of its stores, and has a strong commitment to merchandising sell-through titles as well.
The changeover began in the middle of last year, and is now in full swing as the chain steps up its expansion efforts, said industry observers.
In recent visits to new Albertson's stores in Houston and Oklahoma City, SN found that the familiar 1,200 to 1,500 tape non-live presentations have been replaced by live departments of 288 to 360 square feet, depending on the store. These sections have between 1,800 to 2,600 tapes, with about 18% of the rental inventory devoted to new releases, SN found. The departments are adjacent to the service center counter.