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Kroger To Launch Small Format Fresh Foods Banner

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Kroger, the nation’s largest traditional supermarket chain, is embracing the enthusiasm around fresh, local, organic and natural foods. The retailer plans to open a 27,000-square-foot store in Gig Harbor, Wash. under its new Main & Vine banner.

The store will be “opening soon,” according to its web site, and will offer big brand staples along with fresh foods, as well as prepared foods, a coffee, wine and beer bar and a dual-level café.

The smaller store format fits in with Kroger’s plans to open more urban stores following its acquisition of the Roundy’s chain late last year, which included the 34 Mariano’s stores in the Chicago area. It’s also in line with Kroger’s aggressive moves into the natural and organic marketplace, where it’s challenging better-known retailers such as Whole Foods.

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In May 2015, Kroger announced that its Simple Truth natural and organics brands had grown to $1.2 billion in sales only two years after being introduced. At the time, CFO Mike Schlotman said he believed it was the nation’s largest natural foods brand, according to a report in the Cincinnati Business Courier.

In October 2015, Kroger introduced its HemisFares line of branded products, featuring uniquely packaged items from the most “food-rich” regions of the world. The line launched with 27 products from Italy and the retailer plans to source items from Spain, Japan and other regions.

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