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The public relations department at Ahold-owned Stop & Shop is having a good morning today…

The Boston Globe this morning has a piece by its technology columnist, Hiawatha Bray, in which he describes Stop & Shop as “the most geeked-out shopping experience in America.” (That’s a good thing.)

Bray writes: “Many of Stop & Shop's 376 stores feature a variety of digital devices that let customers weigh their own veggies, order deli meats by using a video touch screen, and pay their bills without human assistance. Many other retailers, like Stop & Shop's main Boston-area rival, Shaw's Supermarkets Inc., offer self-checkout. But Stop & Shop has gone further than any of its rivals to automate our trips to the grocery.

“The company has quietly deployed the technology in dozens of locations since 2005. Now, it will plug the gadgets into many more stores over the next year, as part of a major face lift.”

Bray writes that “after years as a faithful Shaw's customer, I switched to the Stop & Shop in Quincy because its grocery tech gets me in and out of the store so much faster. Besides, it's cool.

“Especially the device at the heart of the Stop & Shop system, the Scan It personal scanner. Shaped like a bar of soap with a pistol grip, the Scan It has been deployed in about 90 Stop & Shops, the first large-scale deployment of the system anywhere in the world.

“Scan It is a lot sleeker and simpler than the first personal scanners introduced by Stop & Shop in 2005. The old device, called Shopping Buddy, was about as big and heavy as a laptop computer and overburdened with features shoppers didn't need, like a digital map of the store or games to keep children occupied while their parents shopped … The new version, introduced last year, keeps things simple. You activate it by scanning a Stop & Shop ‘loyalty card,’ the kind you may already use to get discounts on various items. Now just walk the aisles. When you pick an item, aim the Scan It at the barcode and press a button. The device tracks each selection and the total price of your purchases.

“The do-it-yourself strategy also applies to items that aren't scanner-friendly, like deli meats and vegetables. You can use a touch-screen computer to place deli orders; when your corned beef is ready, Scan It flashes you a message. For produce, scales calculate the correct price when you punch in a four-digit code for each item. Out pops a barcoded sticker.”

Meanwhile, as Bray waxes rhapsodic about the technology-driven shopping experience at Stop & Shop, the company also is gaining notices from a number of papers today about it new logo.

As the Hartford Courant reports, “Goodbye red light, green light. Hello fruit slices? Stop & Shop is shelving its decades-old logo and replacing it with one that's composed of yellow, red, purple and green wedges. The company's decades-old logo resembles a traffic light; the new logo's symbolism is less defined … (and) will begin appearing in Stop & Shop's 376 stores on Friday.”

Giant/Landover, which is part of Ahold and is run by Stop & Shop, also is unveiling a new and similar logo…

KC's View:
Mimosas for everyone in Stop & Shop’s communications department. Or take ‘em out for a nice big lunch. There are good days and bad days, and they just had a good day.

However, because I can’t help myself…

I would point out that there are a lot of people out there who suggest that Giant’s declining fortunes in the DC-Baltimore area can be attributed to less of a local focus than the company used to have. Now, with logos that are virtually identical, the connection between Stop & Shop and Giant is even stronger and the lessening of local control seems more evident.

The questions will be these: Has “Giant” become just a name in the DC area? Has it stopped representing a brand with any sort of compelling local resonance?

And I suspect that there will be those who will say that this has happened already, and the that confluence of new logos simply confirms something that happened a long time ago, and that saddens people for whom the word “Giant” had real meaning.