Pathmark to Roll Out Store Prototype Initiative

CARTERET, N.J. -- Pathmark Stores, Inc. here shortly will unveil a new store prototype heavily focusing on perishables, in a bid to take its locations "to the next level," said chain officials yesterday at a Lehman Brothers retail seminar.

Pathmark c.e.o. John Standley said during a presentation at the seminar that to help it develop the prototype, his company had engaged the services of a national firm, the identity of which it would announce in the next week or so. According to Standley, the prototype will concentrate on such underpenetrated departments as bakery and deli. It will feature greater selection and variety, and will stock more home meal replacement offerings, he said. Key elements from the prototype will be included in future renovations, he noted.

The new-concept stores should start rolling out in the second half of 2006, said Standley, with the company maintaining a balance between major renovations and deploying capital in certain areas of a store.

The reason for the focus on fresh food is because the store perimeter is "key in developing customer loyalty," said Pathmark's co-president and chief marketing and merchandising officer, Ken Martindale.

The chain will also seek to capitalize on such nonfoods opportunities as kitchen shops and dollar stores, the officials said. It will work to customize stores to neighborhoods through selective rollouts of products, introduce a revamped ad campaign, further develop its private label program, improve customer service, and lower operating costs,

Also yesterday, Pathmark reported preliminary sales for the first quarter ended April 29 of $998.6 million, vs. $1 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales declined six basis points, remaining virtually flat. At the seminar, Standley noted is company had seen "modest improvement" since the fourth quarter, when same-store sales were down about 80 basis points. Pathmark will issue its full first-quarter earnings results on June 1.

In other Pathmark news, the company has renewed its contract to employ the strategic sourcing suite from Phoenix-based Intesource.

The Intesource strategic sourcing suite is an on-demand suite of applications designed to integrate easily with a corporation's existing infrastructure. The comprehensive, full-featured system leverages the flexibility and convenience of the Web to allow purchasing professionals to reduce costs and improve efficiencies throughout the entire procurement cycle. Companies are able to access the best market pricing for goods and services and pass those savings on to their customers.

Noted Standley in a statement: "This will contribute to streamlining efforts on our existing procurement cycle for selected resale items and operating supplies."

Pathmark operates 141 supermarkets in the New York-New Jersey and Philadelphia metropolitan areas.
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