Kroger Tests 'Dollar Aisle' Concept

Denver -- Six King Soopers stores in Denver and Colorado Springs are battlegrounds in Kroger Co.'s attempt to stave off competition from dollar stores and their discount brethren.

Kroger, the parent of King Soopers, City Market, and 14 other grocery chains, has been testing the $1-aisle concept in Colorado for almost 10 months, and Monday expanded the test to a total of 16 stores, including some in Houston, Salt Lake City, and California.

"This is response to customer requests and competition coming into the market," said Trail Daugherty, a King Soopers spokesman in Colorado. "Response has been good, and we will continue with the concept for an undetermined time."

In the Colorado, Salt Lake City, and California stores, a couple of aisles have been converted to sell discount items ranging from hygiene products, such as toothpaste and shampoo, to candy, snacks, and plastic plates and cups.

Supermarket chains face fierce competition from retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target, that are adding grocery departments, and Family Dollar stores, which try to sell all items in the $1 dollar range.

Family Dollar has eight Colorado stores. Wal-Mart has 29 Supercenters in Colorado.

In the Houston area, two Kroger stores have converted a 500-square-foot area containing many dollar-priced items.
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