Supervalu Opens Urban Fresh Store in Chicago

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Supervalu Opens Urban Fresh Store in Chicago

09/22/2008
CHICAGO -- In response to a new consumer trend that finds professionals eating out less, but not wanting to cook more, Supervalu Inc, known for the supermarket chain Jewel-Osco, is testing a small-store format, reported Reuters.

Akin to industry leaders such as Whole Foods, Urban Fresh by Jewel, which opened on Thursday, will focus on fresh, prepared foods, ready-to-entrees and convenience items.

"I don’t think anybody has got it yet where they’ve got the exact format they could run with and know exactly why it works," Jim Hertel, managing partner at Willard Bishop LLC, a grocery consulting firm, told Reuters.

Pre-paid foods do cost more than individual ingredients, however, high-end consumers will dig deep into their wallet as it is still cheaper than dining out. Tesco and Wal-Mart are banking on the trend in the Southwest with Fresh & Easy and Marketside stores, respectively. Neither chain, however, has entered Chicago’s market.

"The broader trend is probably convenience and prepared foods, kind of restaurant or near-restaurant quality, at a discount," Hertel told Reuters.

To ensure market demand is met, employees at Urban Fresh will hand out feedback cards to customers at its 16,000 square foot location, Jewel-Osco Spokesman Miguel Alba told Reuters.

"This is very much a test," Alba told Reuters the day before its grand opening.