NORFOLK, Va. -- Camellia Food Stores here will convert 30 of its 41 stores to its new Fresh Pride format, the company said.
Early sales figures indicate the new format, test-marketed at a former Be-Lo store here, is catching on, Guy Sykes, president and chief executive officer, told SN. Sykes said plans to convert the other stores hinged on the success of the Norfolk Fresh Pride.
The new format, which features 2,000 square feet in added space, has boosted sales at the former Be-Lo by 65.9% in the past month. "We anticipated a 20% increase, so to achieve an almost 66% increase is very pleasing to us," Sykes said.
Camellia, which has 41 supermarkets under the Be-Lo, Food City and Meatland banners in four states -- Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware -- plans to open Fresh Pride stores that will average 16,000-18,000 square feet with several as large as 22,000 square feet, the company said.
The company, Sykes said, is planning to phase in the conversions over the next two years.
Other changes, Fisher said, include "everyday low-price on deli items; the produce department was expanded, we've expanded the meat department to include combo packs and a larger variety of family packs and 'grab-and-goes' as some people call them. We have casseroles, meat loaves, things of that nature."
Sykes said the company is particularly proud of its enhanced home-meal replacement program. He said the program will be tailored to each store location with the help of data from neighborhood surveys it commissioned. "We do home-meal replacement a little different," Sykes said.
"Being more of a neighborhood-type store, we want to identify what type of daily menu items we should have there. What we want to do is cater to each particular neighborhood."
In addition, Fisher said, Fresh Pride offers "a wider variety of frozens and dairy." Also, "We added a courtesy counter as well as a humidor for selling cigars." A larger produce department is also included.
Fisher said the new format was necessary if the company was going to keep up with the competition. "It's like you were driving a Ford before but now you have a Cadillac. It was good but not plush. Now we offer everything our competitors do," he said.