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Supermarket co-op Allegiance Retail Services has announced that it plans to open a new 49,000 square foot Pathmark store - a brand that it bought out of A&P’s bankruptcy in 2015 - in central Brooklyn sometime in the next two months. The store is being defined as being consistent with Pathmark’s historical image as value-driven, and the company says it will “assess the response to this first unit … before announcing any additional new or retro-fitted existing units.”  

The announcement says that “after the purchase of the Pathmark name, Allegiance Retail Services began a brand review and market analysis, then developed a business plan and refined the format's operating principles. Additionally, Allegiance set-up rigorous guidelines related to a 'go-to-market' operating strategy, physical requirements, and the experience needed to potentially be designated as a Pathmark operator.    Some of the physical requirements associated with the Pathmark format include a store measuring at least 30,000 selling square feet; a full parking lot with easy ingress / egress; and a local consumer-base which aligns with the profile associated with Pathmark's past success … that profile being a disproportionate number of area residents who are millennial families with one or more children, who demand wide variety, strong promotions, everyday values and ingredient-based products.”
KC's View:
First of all, a quick question - aren’t the vast majority of items sold in a supermarket ‘ingredient-based?’ If the point here is that Pathmark is going to be food-centric, especially fresh food-centric, then there has to be a better way to tell that story that using a clinical, dispassionate construction like ‘ingredient-based.’

Second … I am not yet persuaded that Pathmark has all the value as a retail brand that Allegiance seems to believe it has, largely because I tend to believe that those marvelous marketers at A&P pretty much destroyed its brand equity before the whole business went down the bankruptcy drain.

When I was younger, I can remember retail experts explaining to me that it can take years - not to mention enormous discipline - to develop a value-oriented image, and about five minutes to lose it … and they’d almost always cite Pathmark as an example of a company that lost its way and violated core principles in search of just a little more profit.

I’m not saying I can’t be persuaded. I like to think of myself as an open-minded guy. But I’m not yet entirely sure that it would not have been a better idea to look to the future for a branding identity, rather than to the past.