retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• In Washington State, the News Tribune has stories about the new Main & Vine store opened by Kroger this week in Gig Harbor; the store is said to be a prototype for a small format that could be adapted for urban areas where square footage is at a premium and fresh food is a magnet for consumers.

According to the story, "More than half of the store is devoted to free-form deli, produce, bulk, meats and dairy displays. Standard grocery shelves seem almost like an afterthought ... Reflecting changes in consumer preferences, the sections of prepared and packaged foods are in abundance throughout the new store. The seafood area features trays of bulk dishes that can be bought by the pound and reheated to make bibimbap, tikka masala, smoked salmon chowder and 13 other dishes."

The News Tribune also reports that Main & Vine has a new mobile application that notifies users of sales and events, offers members-only savings, and also provides the ability for shoppers to find thousands of items online that can't be found in-store.

• In Florida, the Jacksonville Daily Record reports on the reopening of a Winn Dixie there that Southeastern Grocers hopes will serve as the first of many remodeled units that will help redefine the company.

Ian McLeod, president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, tells the paper that "the store was designed to emphasize freshness, quality, value and the 'sense of something cooking in the kitchen,' referring to the on-site food preparation. The store employees smoke meats; make sauces and rubs; bake breads, pizzas and pastries; fry mini-doughnuts; roll sushi; roast and brew coffee; and even age fresh meats to customer specifications in the butcher area."
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