BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Haggen is converting six of its 22 video rental departments into leased space sections operated by Blockbuster, Dallas. Four Blockbuster units have been opened to date, and two more will open by the end of the month, said a Haggen official. Haggen joins Kroger, Minyard's, City Market, Vons and Wal-Mart Supercenters in hosting Blockbuster video rental departments, said a Blockbuster spokesperson. He would not divulge the total number of supermarket departments operated by the video specialty giant. In terms of future expansion, "we are just going to continue looking for opportunities for our store-in-a-store program," he said.
"It made a lot of sense from a standpoint of customer service, to lease our space to Blockbuster," said Dale Henley, chief executive officer and president of Haggen here. "We pride ourselves in providing our customers with the best quality, service and selection available. Who better to service our customers in the area of video than the leading and largest video retailer."
The Haggen departments are 1,000 to 1,500 square feet, according to a Haggen press statement. The six locations are Haggen banner stores in Ferndale and Mount Vernon, Wash., and Top stores in Everett, East Wenatchee, Edmonds and Auburn.
The Blockbuster sections typically stock a total of 4,200 rental units, including 2,400 copies of 500 different new release titles, and 1,800 copies of 1,400 different "Blockbuster Favorites" or catalog titles, said the Blockbuster official. "Obviously in a supermarket setting, we wouldn't have as many offerings in our library as in a standard store. But we can still get a large number of videos," he said:
The video retailer is putting in the supermarket departments to make life easier for its customers, said Mark Gilman, executive vice president, chief development and franchise officer for Blockbuster. "Blockbuster is dedicated to making the video and game rental experience as convenient as possible. "By teaming with Haggen and Top Foods, we're able to allow customers to take care of both their grocery shopping and video needs at one time. The Haggen and Top customers will enjoy this easy access to the hottest new releases and select new releases guaranteed to be in stock," he said.
In its experience in smaller spaces within supermarkets, Blockbuster has found that "we can operate our stores more efficiently through the check-out systems and through the way we stock the stores, [which] is very limited," he said, with no candy, soft drinks or sell-through, although some previously viewed tapes are sold.
"Haggen has obviously been around for many years and they are a terrific operator. So it is great that we are able to align with them and operate Blockbuster stores inside the Haggen supermarkets," said the official.
Haggen was the first supermarket to put in a Starbucks operation in the late 1980s, according to the press statement. Now Starbucks, banks and dry cleaners are part of the retailer's stores. "When it makes sense, we go to the experts in other areas of retail to make the shopping experience for customers the best we can provide," said Henley. Haggen has a total of 24 stores.