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    Kroger to Build First Marketplace Store in Arkansas

    Kroger Co. broke ground for a 123,000-square-foot Marketplace store in Little Rock, Ark., its first in the state, according to published accounts.

    Kroger Co. broke ground for a 123,000-square-foot Marketplace store in Little Rock, Ark., its first in the state, according to published accounts.

    The location, slated to open in mid-2010 just west of a current Kroger store at 16105 Chenal Parkway, will offer groceries; general merchandise such as housewares, toys, furniture and home decor merchandise; a Fred Meyer Jewelry store; a fuel center; and a bistro with an on-site chef, hot and cold prepared food and a sushi bar, reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

    The new store will be about 50 percent bigger than an average Kroger supermarket. The existing Kroger store will stay open until the new one opens, and then be redeveloped into retail space, according to Mark Prestridge, president of Kroger’s Delta Division.

    The project is part of a four-year $125 million initiative the grocer began last year to remodel, expand and add stores in Arkansas. Three Little Rock stores are now undergoing renovation, and a fourth on Beechwood Street should begin early next year, Prestridge said. Kroger currently has 33 stores and employs 3,800 associates in Arkansas.

    Marketplace stores have also opened in the company’s home market of Cincinnati, as well as Atlanta and Houston. The company said the locations have performed well. Kroger has described the format as more upscale than a Walmart Supercenter, citing its international foods, bakery and seafood offerings.

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