COMPTON, Calif. -- Ralphs Grocery Co. here is gearing up for a chainwide rollout of in-store bank branches, with the first of 50 new openings slated for March.
The 173-store chain currently has full-service branches in 31 locations but will add a string of 50 more within the next two years, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Ralphs' new contract with Wells Fargo Bank, San Francisco, calls for installation of 350- to 500-square-foot branches. The first installations are tentatively scheduled in March at stores in Diamond Bar, Brea, Santa Fe Springs, Alhambra and Agoura Hills, Calif.
"Shopper response to our in-store bank branches has been extremely positive," said Al Gray, Ralphs senior vice president of administration, in a prepared statement. "In fact, many attribute their decision to shop with us to the fact that they can do their banking and grocery shopping in one stop at Ralphs."
Bank development services, including training, marketing and staffing, are provided by International Banking Technologies, Norcross, Ga. The firm will work with Ralphs and the banking institution to identify and develop cross-merchandising programs.
The Wells Fargo branches will offer full banking services, including loans, investment consulting, checking and safe deposit boxes. Hours of operation likely will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.