Last Updated Mar 26, 2009 4:36 PM EDT
A&P has gained attention for adding gourmet food to the line up of the various chains it controls, including the namesake chain and Waldbaum's, as it upgrades to a format called fresh, one that gives it a different approach to the consumer than price-oriented rivals such as Wal-Mart and Stop & Shop that don't offer as wide an assortment in departments such as produce and bakery.
Yet A&P, with a bit less fanfare, also has been expanding what it calls "price impact" stores, meant to emphasize service and fresh food less and deep bargains more. In fact, it has been steadily converting the Pathmark supermarkets it acquired a couple of years ago to the price impact format.
In another shift toward lower-price operations, A&P is now adding the new private labels and revamping its basic own brand, but it isn't abandoning the idea of giving its customers more than just price. Many of the private labels were developed for customers who more on their minds than price alone. They include, noted Doug Palmer, A&P vice president of own brands:
â€¢ Green Way â€" a selection of affordable organic, natural and eco-friendly products including yogurt, baby carrots, extra virgin olive oil, sauces, breads, balsamic vinegar, dressings, milk, eggs and cleaning products.
â€¢ Hartford Reserve â€" a specialty line of premium products, top-end deli meats, bakery goods, pure maple syrup and gourmet coffee among them, that are designed to exceed the quality of leading national brands.
â€¢ Via Roma â€" a selection of Italian-style products including a variety of prepared meal items as well as imported pasta, imported olive oil, pasta sauces, baked goods and pastries.
â€¢ Market Spa â€" a line of personal care products formulated to be equivalent to national brands at lesser prices.
â€¢ Live Better â€" a range of over the counter drugs, first aid items and dental care that complements A&P's successful health-related pharmacy departments initiatives, which include health screenings.
â€¢ Preferred Pet â€" a collection of national brand equivalent pet foods and supplies such as doggie treats and kitty toys.
â€¢ America's Choice â€" A&P's basic private label expands with new product lines ranging from rotisserie chicken to diapers that have specific life stages in mind under the names America's Choice Gold, America's Choice Kids and America's Choice Baby.