UNIONTOWN, Pa. - A Save-A-Lot licensee has begun testing locations that graft the limited-assortment concept onto a traditional, full-service supermarket.
Tom Jamieson, president and owner, Jamieson Food Stores, based here, told SN last week that an initial test pairing Save-A-Lot with Shop n' Save side by side here has been a success, and the company is planning to take the test one step further with a recently acquired store in Lawrenceville, Pa.
"We put the two of them side by side recently, and it worked out phenomenally," he said. "We found that the Save-A-Lot shoppers are doing a lot of cross-shopping at the Shop n' Save, and we have even seen quite a few of the Shop n' Save customers going to Save-A-Lot for staples."
He said the stores, in which the back rooms are connected, "have seen great numbers," although he declined to disclose specific sales volumes.
Both Save-A-Lot and Shop n' Save are banners licensed and supplied by Supervalu, Minneapolis. The wholesaler recently has been selling its corporately owned Shop n' Save stores in the Pittsburgh area to licensees.
Jamieson, who acquired the 50,000-square-foot Lawrenceville Shop n' Save from Supervalu, said he plans to carve out a space in the up-market store for the Save-A-Lot and reopen the tandem stores in June. The two stores will have a combined back room area for receivables and will share other services, such as trash compaction and baling equipment. The stores will also share loading docks, which saves $50,000 on the cost of construction, Jamieson said.
The Uniontown pairing so far has not reduced labor costs, however.
Jamieson said he's considering combining ad fliers for the two banners by wrapping a Save-A-Lot promotion around the Shop n' Save advertisement.
Interestingly, some of the same products will be offered at both stores - at different prices. The same situation occurs at the Uniontown store where the two stores are side by side, he said.
"We have not heard a single comment about it," he said. "People expect to find lower prices at Save-A-Lot."
John Hauptman, vice president of consulting firm Willard Bishop, Barrington, Ill., said the idea of pairing a hard-discount store with a more traditional supermarket sounds intriguing.
"I think it is an interesting, bold concept to test," he said. "In this day and age when everybody keeps looking for new ways to attract shoppers, this Supervalu franchisee has come up with something that truly is new and unique. What I like about it is that it satisfies shoppers' desire to get good value and find low prices on the Save-A-Lot side, combined with the opportunity to indulge themselves with high-quality perishables, unique prepared foods and knowledgeable service on the Shop n' Save side."
He said since consumers increasingly shop multiple formats in a single week anyway to satisfy different needs, it makes sense to draw them to the same location.
"This in many ways makes it much more convenient for shoppers," he said. "It also could enhance the price image of the Shop n' Save as it affords the consumers the opportunity to shop next door at Save-A-Lot."