Consumers got their first look at the changes at the Giant store in Bethesda, Md., this week, but the changes will roll out fully at both chains, owned by Dutch retailing giant Ahold, over the next year.
Among the new introductions are expanded private label offerings, an increased number of fresh prepared foods, including soups, new fresh-flavored rotisserie chickens and more hot and cold side dishes. The store will also offer shoppers a handheld scanner device they can use throughout the store that checks prices, keeps a running total, and generates brand-related coupons for products as they shop. The company is also making a bigger investment in convenience: A Delivision kiosk allows shoppers to place deli orders when they enter the store, so they don't have to wait as long on line.
A new ad campaign promoting the changes launched over the weekend with TV and radio ads, introducing the new logo and brand campaign, and those ads, as well as spots for specific promotions, will continue throughout the remainder of the year, says a Stop & Shop spokesperson. Among them: a contest offering a year's worth of free groceries. The ads are from Mullen Advertising in Boston; the spokesperson declined to disclose a budget.
As part of the updates, the company is also testing a family friendly lane. In many stores, that simply means that the checkout lane is tabloid and candy free and offers healthy snacks such as yogurt, animal crackers and bottled water.
The company describes the changes as "a further step in Ahold's global strategy to create powerful local consumer brands," adding that it shows the company is "committed to providing great food and meal solutions at low prices everyday."
Stop & Shop, based in Quincy, Mass., has stores throughout New England. Giant, based in Landover, Md., has stores in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Ahold also owns Peapod, the largest Internet grocer in the U.S.