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Food Lion announced yesterday that it will open five stores in the Charlotte, NC, market under the banner “Bloom: A Food Lion Market,” which will be designed to test a new store concept, format and brand name.

The first one will open by the end of the month. The other four will be opened by the end of the year.

According to a statement released by the company, Bloom is the progeny of a cross-functional “concept” team that was created in 2002, and that developed the format based on its reading of customer and retail trends, and its identification of unique opportunities for growth.

"Bloom is an extension of the Food Lion model," said Robert Canipe, Food Lion vice president of business strategy. "Bloom will offer competitive prices, provide the freshest products, and will focus on eliminating many of the hassles of shopping. Through these pilot stores, Bloom will seek to create a unique identity and customer base of its own."

Bloom reportedly will test leading-edge retailing technologies that are seen as enhancing the shopping experience and help customers find products, get information and check out with greater ease. “We want to offer hassle-free shopping solutions and a retail experience customers will appreciate," Canipe said.

Among the innovations: A Boston Market home meal solutions section that has been co-created by Food Lion and Boston Market, and that also is being tested in some mainline Food Lion units.

Just the name itself is designed to be innovative. "Bloom" was chosen because the word resonated with the customers on an emotional level.

Food Lion, a subsidiary of Delhaize America, currently operates more than 1,200 price/value-oriented stores in 11 states.
KC's View:
We look forward to seeing this new concept. It’ll be interesting to see how cross-pollination between Food Lion and Delhaize’s other US companies – Hannaford Bros. and Kash n’ Karry – influences Bloom.

We applaud Food Lion for not taking a “one size fits all” approach to marketing. While other companies might look for ways to consolidate Food Lion, Hannaford and Kash n’ Karry, it appears that Delhaize is allowing each of these companies to maintain and nurtures their own identities.

It’s also notable that in addition to Food Lion’s Bloom, Kash n’ Karry is creating a new format as well – Sweetbay Supermarket, which is designed to "express the vibrant, exciting and diverse tastes, colors, and aromas of great food that are so important to Floridians.”

Good show.