Giant, which has been steadily launching new locations, remodeling older supermarkets and acquiring competitors' closed outlets, is set to open its newest store Friday in
Not just another supermarket, the store is expected to serve as a prototype for future Giants, including several that will be part of mixed-use developments in Washington, said Jamie Miller, a Giant spokesman.
The 56,000-square-foot space on
The Ahold USA-owned chain has 173 stores in the Baltimore-Washington region, including about 100 in the Baltimore area.
"A lot of what you see here will be reintroduced to future store remodeling," Miller said. "A lot more competition has come into the market. It has forced all of us to step up our game."
Entering the revamped store, customers will find an expanded produce and flower department, with shelves on one side for special deals. A gourmet cheese case features some 200 varieties. An aisle is reserved for organic and gluten-free food. Prepared items, including meals, are available in the deli.
Store manager Ray Cameron said Monday that his team aimed to accommodate shoppers seeking prepared meals.
"We anticipate having a good business for that customer," he said.
The updated store allows customers to order deli meats on a touch screen, scan items with hand-held devices as they put them into their baskets or carts, and use self-checkout lanes. Two checkout aisles are reserved for shoppers who use the hand-held scanners — they hold their scanners up to the checkout screen, then pay.
Supermarket analyst David J. Livingston, managing partner of Wisconsin-based DJL Research, said he didn't consider Giant's changes "earth-shattering" but said some of the chain's new features sought to keep the chain competitive and help it maintain its current market share.
"Giant needs to keep up to date as long as new competition keeps coming into the market," he said.
Supermarket chains are trying to figure out how to win the market-share battle, Livingston said. They are no longer trying to go head-to-head on pricing with big-box discounters, which years ago expanded to include food and grocery items.
"This is what other conventional chains are doing," Livingston said of Giant's recent moves. "They're trying to differentiate themselves from
Some of the fiercest grocery competition for traditional supermarkets has come as
Still, he said, Giant is well-positioned to take advantage of some competitors in the midrange grocery market, including Shoppers Food & Pharmacy,
"They need to be in a position to take advantage of the weaker competition while keeping up with Wegmans and Whole Foods that have come into the area," Livingston said.
Wegmans, which has five Maryland stores, including those in
Giant was able to acquire the Perry Hall store after the Superfresh chain sold or closed almost all its Maryland groceries last year under a bankruptcy reorganization plan. Superfresh's parent company, A&P, decided to trim the brand to pay off $3.2 billion in debt.
Those closures opened up opportunities for Giant. The Perry Hall store marks the third store opening for the chain this year in the Baltimore area. In March, Giant moved from North Baltimore's Rotunda shopping center to a former Fresh & Green space on 41st Street that had previously been a Superfresh. Giant also opened a new outlet in
Some of the 150 workers at the revamped Perry Hall store include former Superfresh employees, including some who worked at the Perry Hall site, Cameron said.