Grand Mart Said Planning to Dump Banner, Reshuffle Assortment in Chicago

CHICAGO -- Less than a year after a troubled expansion beyond its East Coast base into eight locations here, Grand Mart International Food will change its name and refine its product mix.

Three of the first batch Chicago area Grand Mart stores have already closed temporarily, while another in Niles, Ill., will change its name and ethnic assortment, according to local reports. A Grand Mart in Naperville was also scheduled to open next month.

A Grand Mart spokesman at the company's Washington, D.C., headquarters told the Chicago Sun-Times the chain plans to reopen the stores within a few months with a new name that is yet to be determined.

The Chicago stores, like their East Coast counterparts, have been focused on Korean and Hispanic products, a mix that is evidently not working in the Chicago area, where ethnic grocery competition already is fierce.

Moreover, the stores have been criticized locally for lacking products that appeal to African-Americans.
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