Grocery Chain Meijer Thinks Big By Going Small
Meijer, a major Midwest regional grocery chain based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has rolled out a scaled-down version of itself in its hometown. The 37K SF grocery store is the first of six the company plans to open by 2021.
Besides about 2,000 grocery items and a coffee shop, the smaller store — called Bridge Street Market — features a bakery and full-service meat and seafood counters. The company's goal is to create a smaller-format Meijer suited to densely populated urban areas, Progressive Grocer reports.
"Opening a small-format store that focuses on grocery in the heart of the city neighborhood was the next evolution," Meijer spokeswoman Christina Fecher told Grocery Dive. Standard Meijer stores measure as much as 200K SF.
The grocer is following in the footsteps of other major retailers that have introduced smaller iterations in recent years.
Target has opened 100 smaller-format stores, including several in highly urban places like Manhattan and Queens. Totaling between 20K SF and 40K SF, the smaller Target stores offer a pared-down selection of products and a greater emphasis on necessity-based items. With the addition of small-format stores and the renovation of many standard stores, Target has seen sales jump in recent quarters.
The small-format store is also popping up in unexpected retail spaces. Minnesota-based coffee retailer Caribou Coffee has unveiled a small-format concept called Caribou Cabins, with drive-thrus and walk-up service counters but no interior seating.
Caribou Coffee has opened five small-format locations thus far, all in Minnesota, and says it will add an unspecified number of others over the next two years.
Besides its smaller-store initiative, Meijer is trying to compete by upgrading the technology it uses in its stores. Earlier this year, the company expanded its Shop & Scan initiative, a mobile shopping checkout program, to 23 stores in Chicago and northwest Indiana following success in Michigan test markets.
Shop & Scan enables users to scan bar codes on items via a mobile app, which then places them in a digital cart. A running total of items is available as customers scan and bag their groceries. Once a customer has completed shopping, he or she scans the phone at a self-checkout lane.